PARIS — After calling on London last month and unveiling two units on Oxford Street, Uniqlo has turned its attention to the City of Light.
The Japanese fashion chain, owned by Fast Retailing Co. Ltd., opens its first Paris flagship today at La Defense, Paris’s financial hub located on the city’s outskirts.
“It is our first store in continental Europe,” said Paul Miles, director of business development and marketing for Uniqlo in France. “Everyone looks to Paris. We expect the store to serve as a model for the rest of Europe.”
While the brand is gearing up to open its sprawling flagship around the Opera in central Paris in 2009, the smaller-scaled 2,150-square-foot store at La Defense will serve as a pilot to test the tastes of French shoppers.
“It’s an antenna store where we can test products and consumer tastes while we focus on the flagship opening for the city center,” explained Miles. “The location [in La Defense] is one of the best malls in France.”
Indeed, pedestrian traffic from nearby skyscrapers to the subway cuts directly through the Quatre Temps shopping center, where the store is located. Like its British siblings, the shop’s white and red concept was developed by Uniqlo’s creative team and Masamichi Katayama, the founder of Wonderwall.
Features include a denim wall with styles for women and men that faces the brand’s UT wall, a collection of multicolored T-shirts in plastic containers stacked from floor to ceiling. Seasonal styles, such as cashmere sweaters and down jackets, will change every month. The store also boasts a number of collaborative collections, such as capsule lines by English designer Adam Jones and Lutz & Patmos.