PARIS — A new upscale shopping mall on the banks of the Seine River hopes to draw thousands of tourists from the nearby Eiffel Tower and revitalize the Paris neighborhood where it is located, known for its office towers dating back to the Seventies.
The Beaugrenelle shopping center, featuring close to 540,000 square feet of retail and leisure spaces on six floors, recently opened after a 10-year development phase. It replaces the former Beaugrenelle shopping center that opened on the same spot in the 15th arrondissement of Paris in 1978.
Philippe Depoux, chief executive officer of Gecina, the listed real estate investment trust that owns a 75 percent stake in the project, said it cost 500 million euros, or $683.75 million, and was the largest opening of its kind in the French capital since Italie 2 in 1976 and the Forum des Halles in 1979.
“Deliveries of this scale happen not even every 10 years, but rather every 30 years, so it is an absolutely exceptional operation,” he said.
The mall hopes to draw 12 million visitors a year initially, rising to 15 million once it hits “cruise speed,” Depoux said.
Now that the project is complete, Gecina — which also owns the building housing the flagship Louis Vuitton store on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées — intends to sell its stake in Beaugrenelle in order to focus on its core segment of offices, said Bernard Michel, chairman of the firm.
However, he declined to comment on media reports that potential buyers include Chinese sovereign wealth fund State Administration of Foreign Exchange.
“It’s an ongoing operation with a certain number of investors expressing interest. These investors are either funds or operators in the shopping-center sector,” Michel said. “Given our new strategy, we do not want to keep this project in our portfolio.”
Beaugrenelle expects to draw a large proportion of tourists visiting the Eiffel Tower, which attracts seven million visitors a year, of which two-thirds are foreign. A free boat shuttle service will link the landmark to the shopping center in around 10 minutes.
The center, designed by architecture firm Valode & Pistre and operated by Apsys, features more than 100 brands including Guerlain, Baccarat, Sephora, Michael Kors and Silvera, alongside a flagship Marks & Spencer covering 50,500 square feet, France’s largest Zara store and the first Hollister unit within Paris.
It houses a 10-screen Pathé cinema designed by Ora-Ito, alongside a plethora of hip eateries that will or have opened overlooking the river, including Eclectic, a Seventies-style brasserie designed by Tom Dixon that is the brainchild of Philippe et Fabienne Amzalak, the duo behind Ma Cocotte and Bon.
Its two main buildings, B Magnetic for shopping and B Panoramic for entertainment, are linked by a glass walkway covered in a metallic grid that allows light to stream through. The atrium of the B Magnetic building features a mobile by French contemporary artist Xavier Veilhan.
The roofs of both buildings are covered with more than 75,000 square feet of vegetation and include a community garden and six beehives.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast