Artful Shopping: L’Eclaireur

Artful Shopping: L’Eclaireur

Armand and Martine Hadida opened their first shop on the Champs-Elysées back in 1980—a “concept store” long before the catchphrase became current, mixing high fashion with design, art and contemporary furniture by such hot names as Philippe Starck and the team of Garouste and Bonetti. Thirty years on, the Hadidas have proved they are still among Paris’s leading fashion visionaries, celebrating the 30th anniversary of their L’Eclaireur (Trail Blazer) chain by having that most avant-garde of Belgian designers, Arne Quinze, create their new store in the Marais. “This is not just a shop, it’s an experience,” boasts Quinze, and a visit to the new L’Espace Sévigné reveals the description to be a total understatement. The interior is not a traditional retail space but a full-on interactive installation fusing arty DIY (think two tons of wooden planks and layers of recycled printer plates) and high-tech accoutrements. The walls are embedded with 147 video screens projecting subliminal black-and-white images that linger in the mind’s eye. The clothes, almost an afterthought in the midst of the Hadidas’ “ordered chaos”, include select pieces from Lanvin, Balmain, Dries Van Noten and Junya Watanabe, displayed alongside collector items from China and other exotic corners of the world. It’s a challenging and utterly refreshing concept.

40 rue de Sévigné, 3rd, website

Originally published in the February 2010 issue of France Today.


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