With one week to roam around Paris on my own, I had more time; meaning more time to organise and to look around. Having spent my previous visit exploring trends at Lafayette's weekly complimentary show, I decided to return back in January to understand what are the key trends for this season and, more importantly, how its history came together to become what is it today. I've recently learnt that in French, shopping malls are known to be 'les centres commerciaux'; but I've been corrected that Galeries Lafayette would be known as a 'grand magasin'. And indeed it is grand: so large that Men have the luxury of shopping in a building that completely stands on its on.
After meeting a personal shopper for an experience (which will be followed in later posts), he brought my attention to a unique leather goods manufacturer known as Fauré Le Page. Established in 1717 and originally named after the Pigny family, the brand was owned by the same family until 1913 armourer took over. Rather than acquiring an international image, Galeries Lafayette is the only place, other than the flagship store in 21 Rue Cambon, where you can find these leather goods in Paris. At that time, I was told that Paris is the only place you can find these products. However, the brand has taken a brave approach to allow Japanese fans to not have to travel the miles (even though those lucky enough to be able to would be more than happy to) and to be able to purchase these goods at the Hankyu department store in Osaka. There's an Instagram account and a contact link on the brand's website. But that's it. One simply cannot purchase these goods online and it's clearly a tactic to keep the brand's true heritage.
On the 1st floor of the grand magasin, you'd find the "Laboratories" which consists of Le Laboratoire Créateurs and Le Laboratoire Luxe; the former is known as the Design Laboratory, while the latter is known as the Luxury Laboratory. These two separate spaces were designed by architect Bruno Moinard where designers are chosen to be displayed every season. The Design Laboratory showcases newer, younger designers while the Luxury Laboratory has had larger names such as Olympia Le-Tan, Dice Kayek and Victoria Beckham. It's a space which rotates and changes every now and then, meaning returning visitors will return to the store feeling refreshed, especially during holiday season where Galeries Lafayette can attract up to 150,000 daily visitors.
What's great is that Galeries Lafayette are offering these services for clients that are willing to go on serious shopping sprees or even anyone who just wants an update on recent styles (without spending a single penny). Personal shopping, in 2015, is not uncommon. But Galeries Lafayette sets itself apart from its competitors for renovating a brand new space on the 6th floor known as "La Suite". Offering panoramic views of Sacre Coeur and the Opéra Garnier, "La Suite" offers exceptional services in ultimate privacy. It's actually an apartment which is renovated with a kitchen, for catering purposes, and even a massage room. You can find more information about personal shopping at Galeries Lafayette and book your own appointment here.
To be continued…#tbc