PARIS — Moncler opens its Paris flagship on Thursday, a gleaming, high-tech showcase of the brand’s contemporary luxury outerwear, set on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées.
Situated between the Arc de Triomphe and the towering Louis Vuitton store, the boutique borrowed traditional French references, and added a sheen of modernity — roughing up sections of carefully carved oak panels with a thick coat of shiny black paint, for example.
“We have optimized the online and offline luxury shopping experience for our Moncler community who will visit Paris both physically and digitally from all over the world,” said Remo Ruffini, Moncler chairman and chief executive officer.
The inauguration of the label’s largest store attests to the continued relevance of global flagships as settings that serve visitors both online and in-person. While the coronavirus pandemic has ravaged the industry, it has also sped up the shift to digital avenues — and the need to feed them with striking images.
The Moncler flagship is equipped with omnichannel services, including mobile tools in the store and virtual appointments.
Visitors entering the store first encounter a hallway with arched ceilings, built of limestone, while underfoot, the checked black marble and limestone floor recalls the marbled courtyards of Versailles. Panels of black bronze — hammered for an uneven surface — line the entrances to side rooms, adding a modern touch. The same material is used elsewhere in the store, for slit light fixtures and the staircase railing.
A series of side rooms are mostly dedicated to women’s wear, with smaller spaces tucked behind for pop-up collections. These are currently the Moncler 1952 pieces designed by Sergio Zambon for the store inauguration, a Paris-themed lineup of airy, white corduroy coats with a red and white print and jackets and bags featuring the city’s rooftops; another room features suitcases from the Rimowa “Reflection” collection, set on a mirrored conveyor belt. Both rooms have floor-to-ceiling screens.
One of the larger rooms features ornate molding crafted by French artisans of the Atelier Mériguet-Carrère, and traditional wooden parquet, while, in contrast, another is outfitted with shiny glass and gold display cases.
Pushing deeper into the store, the central room takes a spiral shape, and opens onto the floor below — where a large, silver sculpture of the label’s Pupazzo character sits, his grinning face at the level of the main floor. Moncler’s Genius line sits in nooks around the room, also worn by clusters of mannequins. At the back of the store is a space for kids clothes, which are tucked into sharp-roofed, toy-house compartments. There is also a plush, private room lined with wooden panels like an upscale chalet. A sprawling sofa and easy chairs are outfitted in a 16th-century tapestry motif — blown up for a modern effect.
Downstairs is the men’s section, complete with a private area that has artwork by French Ivorian artist Cyprien Chabert and a fitting room lined in leather — that puffs out like a jacket.
A central space will house cultural exhibits and presentations, including the Moncler “Voices” project, which will bring photos taken by Julien Tavel of people wearing Moncler outerwear in the streets of Paris. In January, the label will screen a short movie it commissioned with the Kourtrajmé film school here.
The new store comes at a difficult time for French retail, with international travel at a standstill while local consumption remains subdued. Lower down the avenue, which is home to elaborate flagships for labels like Apple, Nike and Adidas, the Abercrombie & Fitch store is closing.