The Japanese fast-fashion giant has inaugurated a new retail model with the opening of its fifth store here in a 19th-century former factory in the Marais district, where it is selling clothes and accessories alongside a selection of other products, including books.
Yuki Katsuta, head of research and design at Uniqlo, said the store, at number 39 Rue des Francs-Bourgeois, was designed as a flagship retail destination highlighting “the coolest Japanese lifestyle concept.”
“We are thinking of making that store…one of the best fashion-message concept stores in the world. Mainly we’re going to be merchandising Uniqlo products. We may also mix in some different items, maybe books, maybe furniture,” he explained.
“It’s supposed to be a completely different store to any other store,” said Katsuta, adding that the concept could be rolled out eventually to other cities.
Designed by Tokyo-based interior design firm Wonderwall, the store spans just over 8,800 square feet across three floors.
Located in a former jewelry-waste foundry, it juxtaposes modern elements like digital screens and LED displays with original features such as an imposing 115-foot red-brick chimney, which literally soars through the shop’s glass rooftop.
“Please visit downstairs,” encouraged Berndt Hauptkorn, Uniqlo’s chief operating officer of Europe, during the inaugural party on Thursday. “We created a museumlike atmosphere,” he noted, calling the place “a ruin” when the company spotted it.
On display are several of the old, highly specialized tools for cleaning and recycling gold and other precious materials, as well as a mock-up of the former factory.
Uniqlo has ventured beyond clothing before: In September 2012, it opened Bigqlo, a collaboration with Japanese electronics retailer Big Camera, in Tokyo.
The Marais opening is part of an aggressive overseas growth drive that could see parent company Fast Retailing Co. Ltd. open between 100 and 300 Uniqlo stores outside Japan in 2014. Earlier this month saw the opening of the first Uniqlo store in Germany, the largest in Europe, and another in Melbourne, Australia.
The maker of lightweight down jackets and the popular HeatTech line of thermal underwear also plans to open its first French store outside Paris, in the Mediterranean port city of Marseille, later this spring.
The Marais store is the smallest to date for Uniqlo in the French capital. Its flagships at Opéra and La Défense clock in at 21,500 square feet and 17,200 square feet, respectively, while the Uniqlo stores at the So Ouest and Beaugrenelle shopping malls both span around 10,650 square feet.
That required a more selective approach to merchandising, said Jörgen Andersson, who joined Uniqlo from Esprit Holdings Ltd. in January as co-global chief marketing officer. To wit: The store’s offer hones in on the spring collection designed in collaboration with Parisian style icon Inès de la Fressange, who attended a presentation held at the new space a couple of weeks before the opening.
Andersson hailed the store as exemplifying a new retail model.
“The Marais as a district has really made itself known for being very creative. I mean, every company that comes there has been trying to preserve what has been there from the past and really respect the historical heritage of the area, and add something new to it, mixing the old and the new,” he noted.
“It’s much more back to where we used to be. Instead of going downtown to big flagships locations, we like to shop in the neighborhood where we live, where you have your local butcher, your local grocery store, your local Uniqlo store,” he added.
“I think that’s quite interesting. I could personally see that coming in London or any other big city around the world.”
The opening was accompanied by an outdoor advertising campaign featuring four local personalities: director and actress Géraldine Nakache and DJs Brodinski, Mouloud Achour and Inès Mélia. The four were photographed by Thomas Lohr and styled by Jonathan Kaye.
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