FRENCH CONNECTION: “It all started with a soy latte and a carrot cake at the Rose Bakery back in March,” said Olivia Kim, newly appointed director of creative projects at Nordstrom. “And then Pete [Nordstrom] and I just walked around Paris and I showed him the things that get me inspired.”


Naturally, the first “pop-in” Kim thought up for the Seattle-based retailer will have a French theme, featuring Kim’s favorite discoveries and limited editions designed by her friends.


Olympia Le-Tan said she would provide book clutches with a Parisian leitmotif. “Nothing well known, just fun,” she explained, citing “Paris, mon amour” and “Paris by night.” Rodarte’s Laura Mulleavy said she “played with French national colors, which happen to be the same as ours,” while Merci’s director of interior, Jean-Luc Colonna, will ship some homeware.


“We just launched online. Fifty percent of our customers are international, “ said Colonna. “Our next step will be a freestanding store in London, then New York — each with a different identity, drawing on the creativity of its local designers. We are currently scouting locations,” revealed Colonna to the delight of Christopher Suarez, chief executive officer at Nicholas Kirkwood, who promptly offered his help from across the table. “My partner loves your concept; she literally lives there,” he said.


For November, Merci has prepared a special treat. “We call it: ‘Men love gifts too,’ featuring a selection of men’s wear and accessories.”


Nordstrom’s holiday pop-in will be more gender-neutral. “We thought: What is the best gift you can give to someone who already has everything,” said Kim. “One example is a pair of handmade skis featuring artwork by Keith Haring, developed in cooperation with the Keith Haring Foundation.”


And what has been Kim’s favorite discovery this season? “That the fastest wi-fi in Paris is at the Meurice,” she divulged. “So pay your 12 dollars to get the coke, because it’s a ridiculously priced Coca-Cola, and stay all day. I’m telling everyone about it, but now I’m worried that they won’t have any more Coca-Cola.”

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