Four places to check out while shopping in the world’s most classically fashionable city
Although some cities have challenged Paris’s status as the world’s preeminent fashion capital, few would argue with the quality and diversity of its shopping. From concept stores specializing in emerging European designers to unique homewares and handmade accessories, there’s enough to impress even the seen-it-all travelers. These four spots are a great starting point.
Maison Sarah Lavoine
Parisians may not wear much color, but one of the city’s leading interior designers, Sarah Lavoine, insists on liberal use at home. Lavoine is known for her contemporary style and penchant for deep hues and compiled her practical home decorating tips into her book Chez Moi: Decorating Your Home and Living Like a Parisienne, released last fall. The book’s central conceit of the home as a stylist sanctuary comes to life at her third and most ambitious Parisian boutique to date. Her two-story concept store overlooking the historic Place des Victoires is set up like a home, from the kitchen to the bedroom, to display her collection of colorful furnishings, small accessories in graphic prints, kitchenware, bedding, wallpaper, a new line of ready-to-wear, and a selection of her favorite finds from other brands. Come to shop but stay for a coffee: C’est vrai, the boutique also has its own specialty coffee bar.
Morgane Sezalory caused quite the commotion in France when she launched the country’s first digital-first fashion label Sézane in 2013 and then again when she made it more tangible with the opening of L’Appartement Sézane, a showroom-concept store, in 2015. Her small collection of feminine ready-to-wear essentials could finally be tried on and admired before ordering, all in a massive atelier space with gorgeous parquet flooring, plush sofas, and marble display counters. The concept has evolved since then—shoppers can now take home shoes, accessories, and lifestyle items that match the collection’s theme, but clothing must still be ordered on-site and scheduled for delivery—and expanded to an annex two doors down. La Librairie, as it’s called, is a more compact space kitted out with countertops, shelves, and an entire alcove brimming with books, from French novels to American design and art compendiums. Carefully strewn throughout the stacks are the latest Sézane handbags and small leather goods, which can be monogrammed free of charge. The other complimentary essential? Coffee. Ask for a cup while you browse!
Department stores around the world are struggling to stay relevant in a sea of immersive shopping destinations, pop-ups, online boutiques, and concept shops. In Paris, les grands magasins, as they’re known, have been forced to adapt. The men’s store at Printemps, one of the storied department stores in the Ninth arrondissement, is the latest to rethink the experience for shoppers. Now located inside the historic building on Boulevard Haussmann, l’Homme has a dedicated space spanning five floors with exclusive lines from ineffably cool labels like Facetasm, Hood by Air, Vetements (all LVMH Prize finalists), J.W. Anderson, Undercover, and Raf Simons. Inspired by men’s shops in Japan and Korea, the team behind the redesign wanted to infuse new energy into men’s offerings, long considered limited and uninspired. On another floor, there are multi-brand concept corners with a focus on jeans, another on trainers, while another area was curated by the men’s magazine The Good Life. All in all, 250 different brands, French and foreign, await under one roof for visitors to take home a piece of Parisian style.
Maison Martin Morel
Old print-making techniques and designs have been given a second life at Maison Martin Morel, the revived textile brand originally founded in Lyon in 1896. Morel’s great grandson Emmanuel Foyatier has jump-started the old business, pulling inspiration from 70 years of archives to create a product line around vintage prints and patterns applied to clothing, wallpaper, homewares, and paper goods. The brand’s first Parisian flagship store, located in the north Marais, was designed to look like a contemporary version of the old Martin Morel factory and features pieces that highlight patterns from the brand’s past—the 1900 wave, the 1932 M-Flower, the small leaves of 1957, and the 1962 Jungle print—as well as its future.