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.
Taking the final spot on the mens’ portion of New York Fashion Week calendar next month will be none other than @tomford. Though he’s shown his men’s wear in New York in the past, this will mark the first time the designer has shown his men’s collection alone during New York Fashion Week: Men’s. His runway show will debut on February 6 at the Park Avenue Armory. #wwdfashion
London-based couture house @ralphandrusso has certainly been in the spotlight, having its dresses worn by @beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Meghan Markle in her engagement photos and more. For couture, Tamara Ralph focused on ornamentation — think: feathers with chain mail, jet embroidery and clusters of pearls and crystals. See the rest of the collection on WWD.com #wwdfashion #couture (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
Minnie Mouse celebrated her 90th birthday by getting her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For her celebratory luncheon, @coach’s creative director @stuartvevers dressed her in a custom made prairie dress, complete with Vever’s take on the polka dot – black sequined versions – under a cropped motorcycle jacket. The designer also put his own mark on Minnie’s classic red shoes, infusing the color with sparkles and adding some Coach crystals. “We chose colors that were very Minnie and also represented quintessential Coach elements,” said Vevers. #wwdfashion #nationalpolkadotday (📷: George Chinsee)
@nickjonas is unveiling his first-ever apparel collection through a partnership with John Varvatos. The limited-edition capsule, which makes its debut in spring, also marks the first time the designer has collaborated with anyone on a line. “The process in working with Nick is amazing. It’s inspiring to be around someone who is not only connected with the trade that they do, but also with what’s happening in the environment around him, and how that connects to what we do with style,” said Varvatos. (RG: @johnvarvatos) #wwdfashion
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)