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Prada marked the opening of its expanded and renovated store on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris with no less than three events on Tuesday night: a cocktail at the boutique, followed by a dinner and a party inside the 24-hour museum dreamt up by artist Francesco Vezzoli for the occasion.
Lingerie designer Chantal Thomass wasted no time shopping, begging her husband, Michel Fabian, to pick out a gift. “I just want you to tell me what you like,” she said, looking stumped in front of a row of men’s bags.
This story first appeared in the January 27, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The three-story shop has more than doubled from its original size and now spreads over 20,500 square feet, with men’s and women’s accessories, leather goods, footwear and ready-to-wear, making it the largest in Europe for the brand.
“It allows us to have a real, full Prada offering in Paris,” said Natalie Bader, chief executive officer of Prada France.
Later in the evening, guests such as Catherine Deneuve, Audrey Tautou, Salma Hayek and François-Henri Pinault, Isabelle Huppert, Riccardo Tisci, Marianne Faithfull, Léa Seydoux, Roman Polanski and Diane Kruger joined Miuccia Prada and her husband, Patrizio Bertelli, for the dinner at the Palais d’Iéna.
Ordinarily home to the Economic and Social Council, France’s consultative assembly, the space was transformed by Vezzoli and the Rem Koolhaas think tank OMA/AMO into a pop-up installation — or “nonexistent museum,” as he called it — that included a monumental pink neon cage where guests ate, surrounded by two-dimensional reproductions of classical female statues that lit up from the inside.
“This is a building of power, and I filled it with images of my mother, so it’s like emotions against politics,” Vezzoli explained.
At 11 p.m., the doors opened for revelers, who wandered past a large staircase lined with red drapes to hit the dance floor, which was surrounded by cardboard cutouts of classical statues with the artist’s face superimposed on top. “I’ve been playing a lot with classical imagery, so it’s a sense of irony about how gay men today would like to look but never achieve it,” he said.
Around midnight, Kate Moss hit the decks to play a short musical set. By 1 a.m., at least one of the Vezzoli cardboard cutouts had been hauled onto the dance floor, where the crowd passed it around in rhythm with the music.
Prada design director Fabio Zambernardi said he wanted a sculpture for his home, while Margherita Missoni’s favorite art piece was the discotheque itself. But not everyone was as impressed. Artist Orlan said the installation felt right for a party, but in her opinion fell short as a piece of art.
“I don’t like art for entertainment,” said the artist, who had covered her trademark facial implants with a slick of silver glitter. “This looks like it could be a store window.”