PARIS — With its trendy little food shops, cozy restaurants and art venues on every corner, the Marais is the most buzz-worthy of all Parisian districts, drawing crowds of arty types, fashionable weekend flâneurs and international hipsters. Last fall brought an influx of independent men’s retailers to the neighborhood, upping the area’s coolness factor even more.
With brands such as Ami Alexandre Mattiussi, 13 Bonaparte and Éclectic hanging up their hats, le Haut-Marais, just north of Rue de Bretagne, in particular has gone through a genuine transformation.
The entrepreneurs behind such labels are filling the void for what they feel has been missing in Paris: a more individual approach to men’s wear. “So much focus has been put on women’s wear that men got left behind. Now, everyone is trying to catch up, not just in terms of numbers, but style,” said Gregory Delos, 30, cofounder of Void.
If nomen est omen, Void, the newly established multibrand store at 3 Rue des Haudriettes, has tapped right into the notion. Proposing a cherry-picked bunch of designers, the 1,255-square-foot boutique has what it takes to become the new mecca for state-of-the-art wear. Styles by Yohji Yamamoto, Silent by Damir Doma, The Viridi-anne and Denis Colomb fill the racks. The brands sold exclusively there this season include Devoa, Lumen et Umbra, Marvielab and Forme d’Expression.
“It had to be here,” said Delos’ business partner Alexey Shumeyko, 31, “because this is where we can sell these kind of clothes. We choose brands that bring something new into the craft and that strikes a chord with the ‘40-plus’ with an artistic background — architects, photographers, composers — looking for something different, but wearable that mixes well with what they already have.”
Shumeyko, a math graduate, planned and built the entire store, disarming the toughness of its concrete and metal elements to produce an enjoyable atmosphere. “We really pushed the architectural envelope. It’s like a statement for people who pass by,” added Delos.
Around the corner at 11 Rue Chapon, Coïncidence set up a 1,333-square-foot, two-level unit. “Even though we are not close to any of the main streets, we get a lot of traffic from nearby restaurants, such as Andy Wahloo, and the surrounding galleries that specialize in the avant-garde,” said owner Lenny Guerrier, who devotes a great deal of time to sourcing what’s rare and hip. His key brands are Silent by Damir Doma, Dark Shadow by Rick Owens and Ann-Sofie Back alongside some exclusive deals with emerging creators, such as Calla, Unused and Martine Rose. “We exchange our selection every Sunday, which creates further traffic,” said the 31-year-old Guerrier, who worked as a salesman at L’Eclaireur and Pierre Hardy prior.
With a small selection of coveted design objects made in Japan and Germany already present, Guerrier plans to up the offering with the help of François Epin of Pierre Bergé & Associés. The auctioneer “will scout hot, new talent for us that are a match with the lifestyles of our clients — that eclectic bunch of people who don’t live here, but nevertheless spend the entire weekend in the Marais hopping from one shop to another, sipping coffee and strolling through the streets,” continued Guerrier.
Rue Charlot and Rue de Saintonge have become the busiest streets in the area. “I’ve been here for 17 years, never seen anything like this. The energy reminds me of London. It’s mushrooming here,” said Claus Lindorff, cofounder of Ron Dorff, the gymwear specialist who famously revisited the Björn Borg tennis shorts, making that Eighties classic look nothing short of cutting edge.
Sporting a Nordic spirit with soft-beige wooden floors and a set of sober white furniture “designed by Jérôme [Touron], the other half of Ron Dorff,” said Lindorff, the 388-square-foot unit at 54 Rue Charlot has been a “miraculous success. We opened on Dec. 4, and the numbers more than broke even. We actually thought it would be too expensive for the younger generation, but they seem to like it. With T-shirts priced at 55 euros [or $73.35 at current exchange], sweatshirts at 100 euros [or $133.40] and shorts at 95 euros [or $126.75], we are not out of control. But we’re not American Apparel either, you know.”
The line has indeed been so successful, a His for Her edition of butter-soft sweaters and fitted T-shirts, previously only available at Colette in Paris, was added to please the growing number of female clients.
Owners of Melinda Gloss, which has been present on Rue de Saintonge with its casual chic since 2010, are so pleased with the area they want to move the brand’s 333-square-foot store into a larger venue on the same street. “Acne arrived here last year, A.P.C. opened shop next to Merci and French Trotters is getting bigger,” said the label’s cofounder Mathieu de Ménonville. “With so many brands coming, this creates a great dynamic.”
De Ménonville said he doesn’t even bother with marketing, adding, “We communicate locally, organize parties and movie projections. People talk about it. This is better than a message that says: Buy, buy, buy.”
A homey feel is also what makes the new Officina Slowear boutique a coveted destination. The Italian urbanwear specialist, which already has a branch near Madeleine, took up residence at 75 Rue Vieille du Temple. Walking into the 888-square-foot, two-story shop feels like stepping into a stylish man’s home. Herbie Hancock records and Steve McQueen images, fashionably arranged on original vintage furniture pieces, provide an air of old gentlemen’s clubs.
The Slowear Group, which sells shirts at an average of 150 euros, or $200; knitwear at 280 euros, or $373.50, and jackets at 450 euros, or $600.20, has seen sales triple during the last two years, thanks to a customer “in search of smart, casual [understated] products,” said Mario Griariotto, who heads marketing and retail.
Gérald Rossi, cofounder and designer of two-year-old French casual urbanwear brand La Panoplie, quips there must be “something in the air. The upper Marais has historically been a men’s world. Just take a look at Rue de Turenne: men’s wholesale shops everywhere.” But, said Rossi, the reason he chose the location for his first boutique, a 330-square-foot unit designed with a Fifties vintage flair at 126 Rue Vieille du Temple, is “because it’s far from the mass-market brands of the lower Marais.”
It’s also here, at 75 Rue Charlot, that Rad Hourani’s “the gallery” completes the picture with a space as transformable as his namesake unisex clothing line. Equipped with removable racks that can morph into benches, the 330-square-foot gallery is apt to serve as a shop, showroom or exhibition space. “For now, it’s a pop-up store, but we will close for fashion week to do all fittings and castings here,” said store manager Erick Faulkner.
Fans can indulge in a limited reedition collection of the Canadian designer’s most iconic pieces, including his transformable jacket retailing for 1,400 euros, or $1,867, which is able to produce 22 unisex looks.
Breaking News: @louisvuitton's men's artistic director @mrkimjones is leaving the French fashion house after nearly 7 years. Jones joined Louis Vuitton in 2011, following a three year tenure as creative director of British luxury goods brand Alfred Dunhill. Jones is to exit Louis Vuitton after showing his fall 2018 collection for the brand in Paris on Thursday. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews