PARIS — “It’s a very special location for someone who loves jewelry,” Lorenz Bäumer said about his new 4,300-square-foot boutique at 19 Place Vendôme.
The corner unit, which opened to the public earlier this month, offers a view of the Napoleon-topped bronze column through a double-height window in the central atrium, while rear windows look out onto the courtyard of the Hôtel d’ Évreux, one of the most storied mansions in the French capital.
The unit’s double exposure — steps away from the Ritz Hotel (now closed for renovation) and boutiques by almost every major jeweler under the sun — means daylight pours onto Bäumer’s creations. They are displayed in cubic niches clustered on walls, or columnar glass cases inspired by structures that Bäumer, an engineer by training, once spied in a nuclear facility.
Bäumer, in concert with architect Anthony Bechu and interiors firm Volume ABC, dressed the boutique in an array of neutrals, from cream to taupe to cocoa.
While resolutely modern, a foil to the 18th-century exterior, the boutique’s curved shapes — including long, oval tables that wink to Bäumer’s passion for surfing — and subtle textures exalt rather than overwhelm the jewelry. The designer, whose favorite themes include nature, architecture and poetry, noted the palette goes well with white, yellow or pink gold.
With its three windows dressed in dark purple and crystal-like paper shards to display rings, necklaces, bangles and earrings, the boutique marks a big step for Bäumer, who had sold his collections from a third-floor location across the square since 1995.
“It was time to take it to the next level,” he said, projecting the unit should bring a 30 percent bump to revenues, which last year totaled 3.8 million euros, or $5 million at average exchange.
Bäumer said it took three years to secure the space, including an upper level that was previously residential. The ground floor had no previous retail occupant and had historically been used to house carriages.
The high-profile location will expose Bäumer’s name and his designs to a broader range of jewelry aficionados, including those who might have been too intimidated to be buzzed into his previous sale salons.
Yet he plans to preserve the personal, exclusive approach. A separate section of the store will contain a gallery where Bäumer will display his collections, starting with a selection of his 150 photos of the Vendôme column, taken from 1850 right up to modern times.
Up a striking mirrored staircase is a private dining room and kitchen for entertaining clients, friends and editors.
His showcase may also appeal to independent-minded shoppers weary of big brands.
“We’re not part of a group, we’re fully independent and we’re not everywhere,” he said, seated at a leather-topped table in his office, at which he can receive elite clients to discuss bespoke designs. “It becomes more personal.”
Bäumer expanded his product range to fill the rambling store and to anticipate the needs of walk-in traffic. He extended the price range in both directions, with accessible pieces starting at around 1,000 euros, or $1,320 at current exchange, and running up into six and seven figures for special orders incorporating exceptional stones, of which he plans to use more, including an emerald-cut 10-karat diamond.
Bäumer said he would continue to travel with his collections to meet with clients, with stops including New York, London, Geneva, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
Bäumer also designs fine jewelry for Louis Vuitton, whose first freestanding jewelry boutique is a stone’s throw away at 23 Place Vendôme.
In October, Bäumer appointed Cristina Egal as managing director, a new post, in anticipation of the retail venture. Previously, Egal operated a communications agency with such clients as BNP Paribas, Sodexo, Servair and Fondation Claude Pompidou.
Assouline is paying homage to the late Azzedine Alaïa with a reprint of "Alaïa Livre de Collection.” The book is comprised of photographs of the designer's summer 1992 runway show with models Christy Turlington Burns, Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks, pictured here at right. #wwdfashion #alaia #tyrabanks
Fall 2018 accessories take on a painterly hue, with Nebulas Blue among Pantone’s top 10 colors of the season. (📸: @jonghyupstudio ; editor: @twallz21 ; stylist and set designer: @haideefindlaylevin ) #wwdaccessories
@americanapparelusa is relaunching the brand outside of the U.S. today, opening its online store to more than 200 countries. The company is also contemplating a return to brick-and-mortar, though details have not been confirmed. In tandem with the expanded distribution is a recasting of a social media ad campagn, called “Back to Basics,” pictured here, with a focus on diversity and a cast of models above the age of 21. Read more on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Exclusive: @britneyspears is continuing to expand her brand. The pop icon, who appears in @kenzo ’s latest campaign, is partnering with Epic Rights to launch a line of branded merchandise. Read @hernameislex ‘s story, link in bio. #wwdnews #britneyspears
The Duchess of Cambridge channeled Princess Diana’s look upon giving birth to Prince Harry, when she and the Duke of Cambridge departed the hospital with the new baby Prince this afternoon in London. #wwdeye #princeofcambridge
The new Prince of Cambridge has arrived! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge posed with the 8-pound newborn. She wore a look from one of her go-to designers, @jennypackham. Tap link in bio for more. #wwdeye #princeofcambridge
Jewelry label @alisonlou has made a name for itself with fine jewelry that speaks to the Millennial market. Now @twallz21 reports that the label is bringing those playful ideas to a new affordable line of lucite hoops with the launch of Loucite by Alison Lou. Here’s a look from the line modeled by @emrata. #wwdaccessories
@sarahjessicaparker and @gilt are teaming up on a bridal ready-to-wear line. Tomorrow, Parker will launch SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker Bridal — and as part of the launch, Gilt will offer 15 exclusive styles from the SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker footwear collection that were designed to complement the new line. Made out of 10 styles, the line is designed for a variety of occasions, from bridal showers to receptions. Get more details on WWD.com #wwdfashion