PARIS — Upscale French silverware brand Christofle is opening a store on the French capital’s Rue Saint Honoré, marking its push into lifestyle territory.
“For nearly four years now we’ve been working on renewing Christofle,” said chief executive officer Olivier Fremont, tracing the house’s evolution from a silversmith, established in 1830, to a jewelry and lifestyle brand.
The focus reflects a broader trend across industries, including fashion, as brands expand into new areas in a bid to draw in consumers whose choices have multiplied with online options. Spurred on by the growing proportion of internet sales, companies are also investing heavily in select stores meant to project a brand’s image.
Key to the lifestyle emphasis at Christofle is a mix between luxury and function, explained Fremont.
“We’re trying to preserve the brand’s heritage without betraying its origins” while seeking to sell products for daily life, he said from a dusty rose sofa facing a marble coffee table inside the store. Behind, a wall decorated with silver trays featured projections of ideas for personalized engraving that ranged from classic initials to children’s drawings.
Throughout the boutique, designed to resemble a chic Paris apartment, historic pieces including a Samovar are displayed alongside current editions, including the brand’s signature ‘Mood’ egg-shaped silverware case that holds fork, knife and spoon sets upright and doubles as a design piece for display.
Habits have changed and the 19th century tradition of pulling out fine silverware to host elaborate meals with specific utensils for each dish has faded, noted Fremont. The ‘Mood’ egg, which comes in various sizes and quantities of silverware, including a mini set of coffee spoons, symbolizes the company’s response to these shifts.
A special edition engraved with a streamlined silhouette of Paris sits on a wide, round marble table at the store’s entrance.
Upstairs is a long, wooden table set with various lines of silverware, where the more classic French lines like Cluny, created in the 18th century and featured in the house’s first catalogue in 1862, are set alongside modern counterparts, some in gold and others with brightly-colored enamel.
The store’s interior decorator, Christophe Pillet, said the space was meant to serve as a “metaphor of a family home,” noting that luxury houses have moved from making things to also representing a lifestyle vision. The focus on soft and felted fabrics in the newly outfitted Christofle store was meant to serve as a backdrop to the house’s shiny silver and chrome metal objects, he said.
Downstairs, the jewelry section features a mix of contemporary walnut and glass furniture displaying modern pieces, including two new ‘Idole’ rings in a warped circle design: one with blue sapphires and white gold, the other with red sapphires and pink gold.
The latest pieces are sold exclusively in the store. A dressing table and floor-to-ceiling curtains in a light gray velour help project an intimate feel. Hexagons evoking honeycomb are another theme throughout the store, ranging from the gray-tinged oak parquet flooring to shelving.
The label, which generates around 75 million euros in annual sales, belongs to the Dubai-based Chalhoub Group. Fremont estimated that around a quarter of its revenues come from its domestic market, France, with international visitors likely accounting for half of those sales.