An entertaining alternative to shopping, be it at a department store or a chain boutique, is the Paris concept store. It is a space conceived by a talented founder who wants to present fashion as a player in the spirit of the times. This vision results in the creation of an emporium not only dedicated to fashion, but to design, to food, to music, books, magazines — all under the same roof.
This is fashion as experience: personally curated to give the shopper the confidence that they are ahead of the trends before they hit main street.
Here are four top-notch concept stores I like to check out frequently in Paris:
Founded in the 1980’s by visionary Armand Hadida and his wife Martine, L’Eclaireur is the pioneer of the genre. Their three major locations in Paris have sumptuous displays of cutting edge designers, from Haider Ackerman to freshly-found, unconventional talent such as Poell.
Each store has its own peculiar design and atmosphere. Hadida loves to surprise his customers with new elements, such as launching the No Name Kitchen at the rue Herold store. It is in a secret room, which formerly housed his astounding cabinet of curiosities.
Now celebrating 20 years in the concept store business, this is the go-to store for fashionistas who want to have the inside track. It consists of an art gallery, water bar and restaurant, displays of books, magazines and cutting-edge gadgets — not forgetting the clothes of course. Labels such as Alexis Mabille, Lanvin and Balenciaga are displayed on dummies as in a museum. Colette is a true fashion experience. Book signings by famous fashion figures such as American Vogue’s Grace Coddington or cooking sensation Mimi Thorisson are frequent, and window displays are provocative.
Where: 213 Rue Saint Honoré, 75001 Paris
Founded by the family who started the exquisite children’s line, Bonpoint, this is a three-floor mega store located in a renovated printing factory. Thanks to Merci, the area around it has become a vital fashion and design community. A steady stream of visitors from around the world flock to this cavern of cutting-edge delights, which range from bobo fashion to luxuriously raw home design, perfume and interesting paper products. All this is rounded out by three eating areas: a café, a fresh food restaurant and a cozy library space serving light snacks.
Where: 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003 Paris
This is the latest exciting concept store to open in Paris in the upper Marais. This two-level emporium has an Antwerp feel to it, hosting established labels for men and women as well as featuring young designers. Here you can find a mixture of well-curated items by Balenciaga, Celine and Loewe. Solo labels such as Jacquemus, Vetements and Lemaire give the selection a surprisingly tempting twist.
Original accessories and books and magazines round out the offerings. For a well-earned rest after serious shopping, try their cozy café serving light food and excellent coffee next door.
Where: 12 Rue Perrée, 75003 Paris