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EXCLUSIVE: Printemps to Unveil New Beauty Concept in Paris

Infused with natural light, Printemps de la Beauté now spans 33,333 square feet over three floors.

PARIS — Printemps is poised to unveil on Monday what it bills to be France’s largest concept store devoted to experiencing beauty.

Infused with natural light, it sprawls across three stories, each of which was conceived to give consumers a different way to discover and interact with fragrance, skin care, makeup and hair care.

“If you want something quick, fashion, supercool, you go to the minus-one [level]. You want something more couture, an environment that’s a little bit like a cabinet de curiosités and you want to spend time? Then you can go on the first floor [up],” Charlotte Tasset, Printemps’ market director for women, fashion, beauty, lingerie and children, told WWD.

The new Printemps de la Beauté space, measuring 33,333 square feet — or double that of its former beauty department — is housed in a building that had been dedicated to men’s wear. Antonio Citterio worked on the new interior architecture after having redone the structure’s exterior five years ago. (Overall, the three Printemps buildings, owned by Qatari-backed investment fund Divine Investments SA, have been renovated to the tune of 100 million euros.)

Outside the new Printemps de la Beauté
Outside the new Printemps de la Beauté. Courtesy Photo

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In the new beauty space, the ground floor has a focus on famed beauty brands, while one floor up it’s all about fragrance and on the lower ground floor there are beauty bars, a “detox” café and the L’Officine area, offering a selection of alternative skin care.

Altogether there are more than 243 brands represented here, of which 108 are new to the department.

Printemps last renovated its beauty floor six years ago, when it put scent squarely at the center of its strategy. This was meant to showcase France’s rich history of fragrance-making, to defend “la belle parfumerie,” including a large range of niche brands exclusive to the store.

“We gave space to those guys, which nobody did at the time,” said Tasset.

The approach bore fruit. “When the market at the time was plus 2, we were plus 25,” said Tasset. “And when the market was completely discounted, we were able to create a model where nobody was expecting any discount.

“We became a destination,” she added. “We attracted new customers, different customers and we had a real success.”

Printemps executives would not divulge numbers, but industry sources estimate the store’s beauty floor generated 60 million euros a year and that those revenues could double thanks to the new format.

The plan today is to whip up a lather of excitement for all beauty categories in an unprecedented retail model in Europe. “We just realized that there was no space in Paris where you could have an incredible, wide selection,” continued Tasset, who said people today are after something different in beauty as well as being open to new ideas.

“[Everyone wants] to change the way they consume beauty,” she said. “This is ‘fashion beauty.’ It seemed fair to create a space where you could play.”

The ground floor is accessible through two doors — one at 20 Rue du Havre and the other at 61 Rue Caumartin. “I asked all the classical and institutional brands to push their makeup because it gave me a way of creating energy,” said Tasset. “At the entrance you will find fragrance and makeup that are super energetic, a lot of innovation.” Ditto for skin care.

Printemps compelled all the brands “to create a corner that is not designed like everywhere else,” she said, and that was to include a digital element. “We wanted each brand to go as far as they could go to create, even in the retail architecture, something that is strongly different, completely in line with the DNA of the brand but only for Printemps. They all played along.”

Giorgio Armani Beauty’s shops-in-shop was fashioned to resemble its pop-up Armani Box store, in red, for instance.

On the ground floor, she swirled around product categories, so not all skin care, makeup or fragrance labels are in one spot, the traditional perfumery layout in France.

The Clarins space, for example, is near the #Beautysta section (by the Caumartin entryway), which carries a rotating selection of items for “one-minute shopping” from brands such as Ayres, Beauty Blender, Dr. Pawpaw and Makanai. Their average price tag is 17 euros. Aesop is located not far from Hermès scents and Christian Louboutin color cosmetics — giving more of a couture bent.

“We wanted to be closer to what the woman wants than just looking at the industry and creating batches of brands that make sense in terms of B2B thinking,” said Tasset. “It’s very visual.”

Lancôme’s stand has a moving video of a Paris scene on its wall. The brand is also offering weekly master classes for the likes of skin care and makeup. Other labels on this floor include By Terry, Bobbi Brown, MAC Cosmetics and La Prairie.

Up one flight is the Scent Room, where labels — ranging from Atkinsons to Juliette Has A Gun and Perris Monte Carlo — display products in their own branded universes. One area, replete with a rounded table, is dedicated to rising perfume names “incubated” by Printemps. (That involves the department store helping the labels’ development.) Lining the walls in this zone are the likes of Atelier des Ors, Mark Buxton, Renegades and Sous le Manteau.

On this floor is a Bar à Parfums (or Perfume Bar) set up like a counter at which people can experience fragrances.

A larger label like Mugler commands a sizeable space and for it conceived an artistic “perfume tree.” Cartier’s perfumer Mathilde Laurent created short videos related to the house’s hour-themed fragrances. Creed, Éditions de Parfums Frédéric Malle, Serge Lutens and Prada are some of the brands here as well.

Then down two flights is the realm of beauty services. “This is my ‘quick beauty’ floor,” said Tasset.

GlossUp is there for nails — with a shops-in-shop resembling the brand’s Rue Charlot location — for manicures, pedicures and other offers. MAC Makeup Studio gives lessons and NYX Professional Makeup, “flash makeup.” Other brands in this area also include Beauty Blender, Billion Dollar Brows, Essie and Nailberry. Plus there’s a section for color cosmetics-related accessories.

Coiffirst Paris has a salon for quick styling or more in-depth services. Hair products for sale here count Christophe Robin, David Mallett, Davines, Kérastase and Leonor Greyl among them.

There’s a spa consisting of seven treatment rooms, of which four are for Nuxe, covering 1,110 square feet. It’s an area designed specially to express the brand’s new “instinctive beauty” image. Treatments here involve some 30-minute formats created for the Printemps store.

Clarins has one treatment room and two others are reserved for other invited brands. Kiehl’s has a cleansing station and gives diagnosis for skin, while Rituals’ space is meant to inspire “slow” shopping.

L’Officine — the area for alternative facial and skin care — stocks labels like Aurelia, Filorga, Pai, Ren and Tata Harper, plus beauty devices.

A rendering of Printemps' L'Officine area
A rendering of Printemps’ L’Officine area. Courtesy Photo

Detox Delight, established in Germany in 2009, developed the menu for Printemps’ detox café. It has juices, salads and snacks. People can sit at tables or have their goodies delivered on carts while getting a manicure or makeover. Pastries and gourmet dishes were created exclusively with chef Thierry Marx for the location.

A rendering of Printemps' detox bar
A rendering of Printemps’ detox bar. Courtesy Photo

The new Printemps de la Beauté was made for holistic experiences and to cater to consumer’s every beauty whim.

“Some days you want incredible makeup, some days you don’t. Some days you want to spend not a lot and then you want to spend more. You have time or you don’t,” said Tasset. “So we wanted something sophisticated, crazy and able to offer exactly what you need. And you can discover that on three floors. It’s like a huge concept store.”