PARIS — As Bernard Arnault often says: Luxury takes time.
That’s certainly the case for his Right Bank retail jewel Samaritaine, which is now eyeing an opening in mid-2016, some 11 years after the department store was forced to close because it was deemed a safety hazard.
Yet it’s easy to see why Samaritaine president Jean-Jacques Guiony brims with excitement about the multiuse project, which will also incorporate a luxurious Cheval Blanc hotel.
During a tour of the site on Friday, Guiony showed off the views of the Seine River and Paris monuments future hotel guests will enjoy, and the glass-domed area under one courtyard, which is ringed by an Art Nouveau mural depicting peacocks and an intricate band of ironwork incorporating bunches of grapes.
A century ago, merchants profited from the sun-drenched space to display hats and fine apparel. The next-generation Samaritaine will use it to house restaurants in order to help lure the surging pedestrian traffic on Rue de Rivoli to explore the entire block-long complex.
Guiony, who is also chief financial officer of Samaritaine’s parent LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, acknowledged that the complex site, an agglomeration of buildings straddling several centuries and architectural styles, presented multiple challenges and encountered numerous administrative snags. RELATED STORY: LVMH Looks to Allay Slowdown Fears >>
When construction work finally begins, likely in mid-2013, the building fronting Rivoli is to be demolished, with Japanese architecture firm SANAA plotting an ultramodern facade of undulating glass that will invite shoppers to traverse through three courtyards and discover some 280,000 square feet of retail space.
Other parts of the building are landmarked, from the Art Deco facade and signs facing the river, to the intricate railings in the Art Nouveau sections, framed by hulking steel beams incorporating delicate curlicues rendered in plaster.
Guiony pointed out that the floors were originally composed of glass bricks to funnel sunshine down to lower levels at a time when artificial lighting was poor. While most will be removed for safety reasons related to fire risks, “it’s a very important element of the building that we will keep to some extent,” he noted.
The project also spans 95 units of affordable housing, a day care center for 60 children, and 215,000 square feet of offices.
At a time of intense one-upmanship for Paris hotels, the future Cheval Blanc promises to dazzle, with most of its 80 rooms and suites offering spectacular views of Paris landmarks. The seventh floor, boasting high ceilings and edged with balconies, is to be dedicated to the hotel restaurants and bars. Architect Edouard François has been contracted to design the hotel.
The Samaritaine department store — a stone’s throw from the Louvre museum — was founded in 1870, with LVMH acquiring a majority stake in 2000. The new project is expected to create some 2,400 jobs.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty