PARIS — Nike has come swooshing into the City of Light.
The American sports apparel and shoe giant inaugurated its first freestanding Nike store here Sunday, a three-level, 3,500-square-foot unit on the Left Bank, near the Boulevard Saint-Germain. A 9,000-square-foot location is set to open Wednesday on the high-traffic Champs-Elysées.
Both are franchise operations in partnership with French retailer Alain Adjadj, who operates boutiques in Paris for such firms as Hugo Boss, Plein Sud and Gianfranco Ferré. Designed by London-based firm Gensler, both stores boast sleek interiors with glass elevators and display walls inset with product photos.
"The sports market is moving fast in Paris," said Sophie Kamoun, head of corporate communications for Nike in France. "We needed to jump in with a stronger presence to build more market share."
Nike’s stores here are part of a Europe-wide effort to boost the brand’s profile. Within the last year, Nike stores have opened in Lisbon, Vienna and Milan, and a unit in Barcelona is scheduled to bow later this summer.
The Nike store format is special to Europe and differs from the company’s Niketown format in size and merchandising. Nike operates two Niketown stores in Europe — in London and Berlin.
The Left Bank store dedicates an entire floor to women’s apparel, a first for a Nike store in Europe. Other floors feature shoes and men’s sports apparel, with retail prices ranging from about $30 for a running T-shirt to $75 for warmup pants.
The three-level unit on the Champs-Elysées will feature technical products, such as men’s and women’s shoes, activewear and eyewear. Children’s apparel and shoes will occupy the basement.
"Women in France are buying more sports apparel," said Kamoun. "Last year, we opened our first shop-in-shop women’s store in Paris, at Citadium, [the sports retailer] and it’s been a big hit."
Kamoun declined to provide sales projections for the stores, but characterized them as "test units," whose performance will determine whether Nike rolls out further in France.
"We’re interested in going into urban centers," said Kamoun. "Presently, the sports market is mostly located outside of the cities. But we think it’s moving back into the cities."It would seem that other sports companies believe the same thing. Two years ago, German sports apparel and shoe firm Adidas opened its first megastore in Paris, on the Rue de Rivoli. Last year, Puma followed suit with its first retail emporium, on the Boulevard Sebastopol.
"The market has changed a lot in Europe," said Kamoun. "Sports stores used to be only for serious athletes. Now, women come in to sports stores seeking the fashion."
“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