Giorgio Armani will open his first Le Collezioni unit here, on the Avenue George V, during collections next week, and Prada has just opened a store on the Rue Faubourg Saint-Honore. Following is a roundup of some of the city’s newest stores:
Jey: Variety is the spice of retail, according to Rola Hindi, who opened this multi-brand concept store on the Avenue George V, just off the Champs-Elysees.
“There are too many single brand stores,” said Hindi. “I believe women want choices when they shop. They want destination shopping. That’s why I opened Jey.”
Designed by Paris architect Joseph Caram, Jey carries men’s and women’s fashion and accessories from designers including Martine Sitbon, Alexander McQueen, Roberto Cavalli, Michael Kors, Ronit Zilkha and Anna Sui. The 10,000-square-foot space also stocks home accessories, such as Murano glass vases and candles. It opened late last fall.
Hindi used to run a Gianfranco Ferre franchise store in the space now occupied by Jey, and another Ferre unit in Cannes, which also closed. She said Jey is positioned as an alternative to department stores.
“And we’re not like Colette,” said Hindi, referring to the ultra-trendy store on Rue Saint-Honore. “Colette is about a seasonal vision of white, black and beige clothes. I give each designer his or her own space and I’m not adverse to showing a variety of design visions under the same roof.”
The neighborhood surrounding Jey has seen a spate of retail activity recently. Apart from new Brioni and Armani stores, Jean Paul Gaultier is expected to open a shop on George V this summer.
“It’s a great neighborhood,” explained Hindi. “We get a lot of international clients. But there are also more young local clients than before. The area is attracting more affluent young people.”
Bali Barret: Bali Barret knew exactly where she wanted to open her first shop: in the same building as her studio at 36 Rue du Mont-Thabor, on the Right Bank.
“But it was occupied,” explained Barret. “When it came free, I pounced — fast. I think I was the first to know. I passed it every day on my way to work.”
Known for her spirited contemporary sportswear, Barret’s shop is inviting and unpretentious. Dominated by the color red, its atmosphere is part art gallery, part high school gymnasium. The wood floor has gym-like red markings and the checkout counter was fashioned from a wooden crate. The display shelves are white wood and stainless steel, and the space glows, courtesy of industrial lights. The store’s ornate wooden facade is painted red.
“I wanted to mix the old and new,” said Barret, whose line is carried in about 80 doors, including the Bon Marche and the Printemps department stores here.
Barret, who launched her eponymous line three years ago, said she expects the store to help her craft a stronger image. “Now I can show my whole universe,” she said. “I think it will bring me more attention. Already the Bon Marche has allotted more space to my collection. I think having my own store makes me look serious.”
New York Industrie: Kostas Murkudis, the Munich-based designer hired last year by Staff International to revamp its New York Industrie label, said Paris was the natural choice for a first shop. “It’s the capital of fashion,” he said. “If we do well in Paris, we’ll be on track.”
The 1,300-square-foot unit on Rue Pavee in the trendy Marais district has references to urban cool — with a touch of Paris chic. The stripped-down stone walls are gritty, juxtaposed against a rich marble floor.
“I wanted to blend the old and new,” said Murkudis. “I wanted contrast, but I didn’t want to destroy the essence of an older building. I wanted it to refer to the existing architecture.”
The shop was designed by B-Architecten, a design firm based in Antwerp, Belgium. It carries New York Industrie’s complete men’s and women’s lines.
Murkudis said other stores are in the works, with an opening in Tokyo slated for fall 2002. Stores are also expected to open in the next couple of years in London, New York and Milan.
Murkudis stressed that the Paris store will not serve as a model for future New York Industrie shops. “I don’t think that’s the right approach to fashion,” he said. “I want each store to have a separate identity.”
Meanwhile, Murkudis said he’s busy working on an accessories line for New York Industrie. “We really need shoes and bags,” he said. “They should be ready by fall.”
Prada: It’s been a long time coming, but Prada has finally opened on the prestigious Faubourg Saint-Honore. The firm first posted a “coming soon” sign about two years ago. Prada operates two units in Paris: on the Left Bank’s Rue de Grenelle and a flagship on the Avenue Montaigne.
The newest store, a two-level 2,200-square-foot showcase for the women’s ready-to-wear and accessories, is located next to Gucci and down the street from Hermes.
“Paris is a reference city for the fashion world,” said Patrizio Bertelli, Prada’s chairman. “It is one of the most important European capitals for the image of a brand.”
Bertelli added that Prada is beefing up its team in France and has appointed a new general manager for the country, Sebastian Suhl, and opened a press office here.
Unlike the architecturally innovative store it recently unveiled in SoHo, the Saint-Honore unit sticks to a more traditional Prada format, with a mint green color scheme and curving walls. Architect Roberto Baciocchi designed it. The store plans to open a 500-square-foot VIP room, on the third floor, by the end of the month.