Row DTLA

A bit of France has made its way to downtown Los Angeles with the opening of 13 Bonaparte’s first permanent U.S. store Thursday.

The men’s contemporary brand, which has a store and design studio in Paris’ Haut-Marais neighborhood, chose the adaptive reuse project Row DTLA in an area just outside the Arts District. That follows a pop-up on Rivington Street in New York in the spring, which was seen as a brand-building exercise and test of the market for 13 Bonaparte. The company at around the same time also released a denim collection called Le Denim, which included its first pieces for women.

The temporary store in New York was successful by 13 Bonaparte founder and artistic director David Sarfati’s account and “completely confirmed that the U.S. market is going to be important to the brand.

“It’s because of what’s going on in L.A.,” Sarfati said of why the company chose to open on the West Coast first. “We kept the brand exclusively only in Paris while opening concise distribution in Japan and now Paris department stores. We’re now ready to understand and expand our retail network, which is very important for us to keep talking to our customers directly. L.A. was an amazing opportunity to truly set up the brand. What’s going on in downtown right now reminds me a little of what happened in the Marais where we are in Paris right now. It’s dynamic and truly aligned with our customers.”

Sarfati pointed to the Row’s concentration of food concepts and designers in a single place as an important factor in wooing the brand to that particular location.

The 1,000-square-foot boutique is near jewelry line Vrai & Oro, design firm A+R, LCD and Midland Clothing.

The Los Angeles store’s opening will sync with next month’s launch of e-commerce for the U.S. and Canada.

For its next retail step, the company is eyeing the Lower East Side of New York for an eventual opening, as well as San Francisco. Sarfati is precise about the type of real estate he’ll put the brand in, veering away from malls in favor of neighborhoods.

“We’re a true lifestyle brand and we want to be part of a spirit and people truly enjoying life between art and culture and discovery,” Sarfati said. “We really want to keep our brand in this niche spirit and retail environment.”

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