Le Bon Marché is putting shoes and experiences first – WWD – EzAnime.net

PARIS – If proof was needed that the shoe rules the shoe closet, Parisian department stores are testing it by placing it in the center of their shoe sections. The most recent evidence is Le Bon Marché’s revamped shoe offering, unveiled late last month, where the kicks are front and center.

On the female-oriented second floor, the sneaker space has been moved from a long stretch along one side wall of the building to a central area that was once home to heritage brands. A place of honor here is the sustainable shoe rack Allbirds, whose temporary space is completely recycled with wool and wood parts, a spirit that permeates the rest of the area.

“The sneaker is where we feel brands are pushing the boundaries to experiment with plant-based leathers or waste reduction strategies, so we followed it and didn’t do a redo,” said women’s shoe buyer Morgane Toullec, noting the Original frame and the Pierre Paulin Sofas that had been pulled from the department’s considerable stash of vintage furniture and dressed in blush pink fabric.

Here, the mix includes must-have items like the Isabel Marant wedge sneaker and collectible pairs from Off-White or classics like Vans presented alongside Swiss running specialists On, who will launch a collaboration with Loewe later this month.

The rest of the 17,000-square-foot apartment has also been organized. Around the sneaker space there are seasonal offers: rain and winter boots starting in the fall, sandals in the summer months. Under the glass canopy, which was renovated in 2015, contemporary brands stand out in the “Atelier Parisien” space, with a twist.

“We noticed a trend towards brands led by women in the contemporary market, in a general field dominated by brands designed by men for women,” commented Toullec, describing a selection that ranged from established brands such as Vanessa Bruno and Carel to emerging brands Nodaleto. . By Far or Berlin-based contemporary label Aeyde.

A similar reorganization has been done on the basement level in the men’s department, where department stores built the “Station Sneakers,” a 2,700-square-foot replica of a subway station. “We wanted to play with this idea of ​​being ‘underground’,” said Thomas Jamet, Le Bon Marché men’s shoe buyer.

The “Station Sneakers” corner is inspired by the Parisian metro and the idea that sneakers are for everyone, without distinction. Courtesy of Le Bon Marché

By bundling the entire range of offering, from accessible brands like Converse to luxury mainstays like Balenciaga and rare items like On Running’s Roger low-top sneakers, named after tennis champion (and brand investor) Roger Federer, Jamet said that department stores wanted to put the accent on “sneakers now are for all ages, all styles and all walks of life.”

Beyond the product, both spaces highlight the notion of sneakers as culture and a fundamental element of lifestyle, ranging from a selection of books on the subject that are prominently displayed alongside men’s styles, to a Themed running program developed with the Paris-based Marais Running Club runners and customizations, this time with the footwear and knit trims of the French brand Amrose.

These quick changes were just part of a busy fall for Left Bank department stores.

In addition to Thebe Magugu’s philanthropic flower-themed installation, the department stores offer a wider variety than ever, from antique furniture and household items, currently on the second floor but expanding into the starter apartment of the adjoining building, to classes in sports on the ground ground.

Was this busy and bustling schedule a gamble to attract customers who now prefer the convenience of e-commerce, or scared of travel disruptions? Nor, according to Patrice Wagner, chief executive of the department store, who revealed that August’s business volume matched pre-pandemic 2019 figures.

The secret sauce? The ability and desire to dedicate about 16,000 square feet to experiential retail, according to Wagner.

“Everybody is [now] talking about entertainment in living spaces and commerce, but it’s something I’ve been hearing about for three decades, and I’m running here ever since I got here [11 years ago]”Said the veteran retail executive. “We simply continue in this direction because we have always believed that the customer has to leave the store enriched, not just filling the pockets of a retailer.”

Cue the services and experiences offered everywhere in the store.

In the pop-up first-floor space, given over to a duo of very Parisian names, the beauty brand Holidermie and the contemporary fashion brand Ba & sh, appointments were included in the salt booth, a drink bar with concoctions geared towards the health and a program of master classes in wellness and sustainability. on an equal footing with Ba & sh’s ready-to-wear and a selection of products drawn from the holistic universe of Mélanie Huynh de Holidermie.

Holidermie’s “HoliMarket” offers a cross-section of the holistic lifestyle of founder Mélanie Huynh. Courtesy of Le Bon Marché

The ground floor reveals two fields that quickly became favorites during the closure: sports and plants. The French Champion Spirit sports club, founded by four-time Thai boxing world champion Abdoulaye Fadiga, occupies the exhibition space near the main entrance on Rue de Sèvres, with a boxing ring hosting boxing classes for children and sessions of tai-chi for adults, too. like the ability to design a home gym with apparel and interior design experts.

Tag Heuer Le Bon Marché

Tag Heuer’s revamped shop-in-store at Le Bon Marché. Courtesy of Le Bon Marché

At the other end of the store, the “Vegetal Concept” pop-up offers a selection of live plants, garden furniture and sundries for green thumb customers who want to create their own urban gardens.

Even brands that traditionally focus their efforts on displaying their own identities first are beginning to expand. Take Tag Heuer, for example, who renovated their store in a ground-floor shop into an open area with the feel of an elegant lounge. “We wanted to turn the space into a suitable living space for conversations about shared interests, such as meetings between watch collectors and car enthusiasts. [with the Porsche collaboration], not just commercial transactions, ”said Frédéric Arnault, watchmaker’s chief executive officer.

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