NEW BEGINNING: Cacharel has tapped architect Jean Nouvel to design the concept for its new French stores, marking its retail comeback eight years after the closure of its last Paris boutique.

The French fashion label will open a unit on July 10 at 40 rue de Buci, previously home to a YellowKorner gallery. This will be followed by shops in Strasbourg, France, in August, then Marseille, Nîmes and Lille in September, said Cacharel founder and president Jean Bousquet.

The Cacharel store on the French capital’s Left Bank is located opposite Marché Saint-Germain, a shopping mall that is under renovation and will reopen in November with stores including Apple and Uniqlo.

Before it opens to the public, the Cacharel boutique will host the presentation of the label’s cruise and summer 2017 collections for buyers and press next week. Bousquet said he gave Nouvel carte blanche to design a store that matches the brand’s new identity, following its repositioning as a contemporary line.

“It’s young, but it has personality,” he said of the concept, which features backlit clothing rails, wooden floors and large wall panels in a russet-and-gold palette inspired by a William Turner painting. “It’s very luminous.”

The company previously said its Paris store would be a prelude to forming a network of franchised stores worldwide. “What we would like to develop for next season is corners, also designed by Nouvel, in all department stores, whether in France or overseas,” Bousquet said Wednesday.

“We also think it’s important to open stand-alone stores in city centers, because I think some city centers have lost their personality,” he added, blaming the closure of independent stores. “Paris today has lost a lot of quality because of this absence.”

Cacharel, which shot to fame in the Sixties and Seventies with its youthful, romantic style, has undergone multiple changes in management and creative direction in recent years.

Since parting ways with Italian manufacturer Aeffe in 2012, it has reviewed its price positioning and focused exclusively on women’s wear.

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