The fabulous Ra concept boutique has arrived in Paris’s Haut Marais. Antwerp-based duo Anna Kushnerova and Romain Brau opened the first Ra store in that fashion-forward capital in 2009 as a venue for emerging talent in fashion, design and art. The couple designed rugs, murals and monolithic copper front doors for the new Ra Paris, where clothes are displayed on a curtained mini-stage, jewelry is in a stylized coffin and the mannequins seem ready to speak, as if right off a Jean Cocteau movie set. According to store manager Laurent Kaus, the boutique is “a mix of 1920s Symbolist art and the Ballets Russes,” an apt description, since some of the shop’s limited-edition pieces are closest in spirit to theatrical costumes. Brau’s “I Am a Mermaid” coat, a blue-and-gold explosion of feathers, color-tipped fur, holographic studs and flowing silk chiffon is a stunner—more macaw than mermaid, really—and Dutch designer Iris van Herpen’s made-to-order platform heels in layered strips of clear plastic channel Alexander McQueen’s infamous, globular “armadillo” shoes. For the less extreme among us, there are plenty of outstanding everyday pieces, like ButterflySoulFires’s soft black merino sweater that swoops elegantly across the front and over one arm. The boutique also carries more established labels, like Rodarte and Gareth Pugh, along with some fairly wacky headgear, handmade leather goods, a small vintage collection and a bookstore.

14 rue de la Corderie, 3rd, www.ra13.be

Originally published in the April 2012 issue of France Today

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