AN AMERICAN IN PARIS: BHV Marais is bringing Mickey Mouse, one of France’s favorite Americans, to its sprawling Rue de Rivoli store in September, where images of the “guest of honor” will be sold on T-shirts, mugs and smartphone cases.
Window displays will set the popular cartoon character in a Paris skyscape amidst white, fluffy clouds. Mickey Mouse paraphernalia will be sold in a temporary Disney Store on the ground floor and the mouse’s famous silhouette and gloves will be scattered throughout the floors of toys, books and kitchenwares.
Under the direction of Alexandre Liot, the 160-year-old Parisian trinket and hardware seller has been repositioning itself as a lifestyle destination. Reflecting this focus on younger, urban clients, the store recently set up a farming space on the rooftop where it grows flowers and hops for a local beer.
A capsule collection under the label of its parent company, Groupe Galeries Lafayette, will include a cotton sweatshirt and T-shirts in blue, gray and white with the classic Mickey Mouse image. Adult T-shirts will be priced at 24.99 euros and the children’s size will cost 16.99 euros.
Other Mickey products include a colorful Samsonite suitcase with vintage images and a price tag of 115 euros; a collection of black-and-white mugs is priced at 35 euros.
Truly Design, the studio founded by artists from the Nineties street graffiti scene specializing in optical illusions, will also render homage to the lovable mouse with artwork at the store’s entrance.
For people interested in creating their own Mickey art, comic illustrator Fabrizio Petrossi will conduct a free workshop in the book department on Sept. 16.
As consumers turn to the convenience of online purchasing, retailers are jockeying for new ways to entice people into stores, often turning to temporary products and one-off events.
For the odd French person or foreign tourist who might pooh-pooh the U.S. takeover of the BHV building with its historic cupola, it’s worth remembering that Walt Disney — whose ancestors were called d’Isigny, after a town in Normandy — had French roots.