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Galeries Lafayette Opens New Lingerie Floor

The French department store revamped its fourth floor into a 37,675-square-foot lingerie temple, a new step in its plan to reorganize its flagship.

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PARIS — Galeries Lafayette’s lingerie space is upping its fashion quotient.

This story first appeared in the May 13, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The French department store revamped its fourth floor, which opened May 6, into a 37,675-square-foot lingerie temple, a new step in its plan to reorganize its flagship.

Extending the area dedicated to innerwear by 10 percent, the store now displays about 50 brands, including 10 new to the retailer, such as Maidenform, an exclusive for the French market, as well as Esprit and Agent Provocateur.

The floor is split up by universes — luxury and designer, trendy fashion with high-street labels such as Etam and Princesse Tam Tam, and tights and socks. The format mirrors the master plan to reorganize women’s fashion by style across all categories.

“The secondary entry is by brand so that they can display their full universes,” said Geraldine Mazin, the retailer’s head of lingerie buying. “For instance, Calvin Klein now has lingerie, nightwear and swimwear.”

A colorful palette distinguishes each area: dusty rose and gold for luxury labels, blue and purple for trendy fashion brands and fuchsia for tights and socks. There’s also molding and soft lighting, and the number of fitting rooms has doubled to 50, some of which also feature special lighting for a “tanned” effect.”

Mazin noted that the previous layout segmenting the floor by foundations and daywear, sleepwear and swimwear is no longer relevant to today’s lingerie consumer, who buys lingerie based on trends, not classification.

Other notable changes include swimwear, which will now be displayed year-round in a wider range of cup sizes, from 28A to 44G. “Swimwear is no longer a seasonal product,” she explained.

“We have reinforced both the very high-end segment with brands like Agent Provocateur, a wider range from Maison Lejaby Couture and the more affordable end,” said Mazin.

Prices range from below 10 euros, or $13 at current exchange, for a pair of panties by Avant Première, to 1,450 euros, or $1,835, for a La Perla dress from the Jean Paul Gaultier capsule collection, and an Agent Provocateur dress for around 2,000 euros, or $2,620.

The luxurious new space was designed under the artistic direction of French designer Stella Cadente, who topped off the department’s entrance with a ceiling composed of 24,000 feet of tulle that was hand-sewn in her atelier.

“The concept is the Haussmann-style apartment, to give lingerie a more intimate feel, so that women who come here feel comfortable, at home,” commented Cadente.

Nearby is a 645-square-foot beauty area that stocks brands like Essie, OPI and Bourjois, which were moved up from the main floor. Adding a touch of indulgence is an area dedicated to fine teas like Løv Organic and Kusmi, which were moved from the Lafayette Gourmet space.

Other features include mannequin displays that highlight the trends of the season, a vending machine by Cosabella that features the brand’s Never Say Never “Cutie” thong and a sewing machine at Empreinte that customizes lingerie sets with ribbons, lace and an array of embellishments.

To promote the new lingerie floor, the Boulevard Haussmann windows at the flagship are dedicated to lingerie this month. The Lycra spandex brand by Invista Inc. is also hosting an installation of lingerie sets and swimsuits made with Lycra on the main floor.

Mazin said the retailer is “hoping to get back to growth” with the new lingerie initiative.

“The lingerie sector is flat and the market is difficult,” Mazin said.

The redo at the Galeries Lafayette flagship is taking place against a backdrop of department stores in the French capital that are competing for the trendy fashion customer. Last year, luxury department store Le Bon Marché on Paris’ Left Bank also gave its lingerie department a prime location and a refurbishment. Printemps has put a greater focus on premium lingerie brands and recently added the newly launched Maison Lejaby Couture label.

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