Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD Special Report issue 09/08/2009

PARIS — Christophe Girard, deputy mayor of Paris, is no stranger to nighttime events, given his involvement in the annual Nuit Blanche, or White Night, when countless Paris galleries, museums, city halls and even swimming pools open their doors all night to visitors.

As a result, he has enthusiastically embraced the idea of Fashion’s Night Out and is sure fellow Parisians will join him in his nocturnal visit to the city’s so-called Golden Triangle. Designer stores on Avenue Montaigne, Rue François 1er and Avenue George V will stay open until 11 p.m., hosting cocktail parties and special previews of their fall collections.

This story first appeared in the September 8, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Here, Girard talks about the evening and why the city decided to become involved.

WWD: Why did you decide to support Fashion’s Night Out? What does it mean for Paris’ shopping scene and economy?

Christophe Girard: Our mayor is attached to the vitality of our city and wants it to be promoted through tourism, culture, sports, transportation and, of course, fashion. Two deputy mayors, Lyne Cohen Solal, who is in charge of retail, fashion business and economic activities, and Jean Bernard Bros, in charge of international tourism, work actively to promote Paris and make sure we participate in such events.

WWD: Do you think Fashion’s Night Out will work in persuading Parisians to shop?

C.G.: Since we launched Nuit Blanche in 2002, where art is shown all over the city at night, nighttime openings have been promoted in more than 24 cities throughout the world. Thanks to Vogue’s initiative, 13 cities will participate. It’s a great initiative.

WWD: How do you think Fashion’s Night Out will boost retail in Paris?

C.G.: During Nuit Blanche, galleries, bookshops, restaurants, cafes and museum shops sell well. Fashion lovers will enjoy shopping in their favorite stores for their favorite designers with the night lights in the background.

WWD: How important is the fashion retail business for Paris?

Paris remains the capital of fashion, where every designer dreams to show his or her work. Fashion and luxury are a substantial part of our local economy.

WWD: Do you think Paris’ reputation as a fashion capital is important in attracting tourists to the city?

C.G.: Yes, I believe so. French fashion and French luxury remain extremely attractive and creative. They are part of French and Parisian culture.

WWD: Are Parisians beginning to be less cautious about spending compared with six months ago?

C.G.: It’s difficult to say, but dressing stylishly remains important for Parisians, and they prove it even in difficult times.

WWD: What are your plans for Fashion’s Night Out? Will you be visiting any of the participating stores?

C.G.: With my colleague Lyne Cohen Solal, I will try to see everything. I have already planned to visit Chanel. It’s so French!

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