Parisian retailers celebrate back to school with parties and shows – WWD

Parisian department stores celebrated the return to school – the traditional back to school – with a week full of events.

La Samaritaine launched its “Paris en mode Arty” program, with a chic cocktail in the ultra-modern space of the boutique in Rivoli.

Bright pop art decorated the floors with installations by young artists.

A graduate of the Hermès Academy of Crafts, Marion Flament takes over the ground floor display cases with a sunburst glass sculpture, while Ella Batts uses body parts blown out of proportion to create a massive pastel wall. An interior passageway was painted by Cecilia Granara in sunny patterns inspired by Italian and Moroccan tiles. Another stairwell is dominated by bright pink tapestries by Turkish artist Désiré Moheb-Zandi.

Bringing in art and merging it with commerce is “part of our DNA,” said Nathalie Montaldier, vice president of marketing for DFS Europe, which operates the store. “We have a different approach, having brands consistent with our storytelling and giving new experiences related to art.” Montaldier said she envisions the walls of the department store “like a blank canvas” for artists to display their work, which changes quarterly.

The idea is to approach this section of the department store – closer to the main shopping street of Rue de Rivoli – as a concept store, Montaldier said. It attracts a younger clientele and mixes fashion, lifestyle, accessories and art, including organized events such as inviting customers to personalize Cahu tote bags.

She brought pop-ups and special items, including a limited-edition Ruinart bottle painted in pastels by Claude Viallat. The bottle is only available at La Samaritaine and at the headquarters of the Champagne house in Reims.

The installations will last until October.

Artist Cecilia Granara

The following evening, Le Bon Marché celebrated its 170th anniversary with a sparkling carnival-like party. There were colorful popcorn and cotton candy machines and a giant maze for guests to get lost in.

CEO Patrice Wagner held court as guests filled the interior floors, before pop star Mika took the stage – and atop a grand piano – to sing his hits just before the kickoff of his European tour.

The boutique will feature its own “La vie en orange” pop-up, featuring vintage luxury accessories including 40 Hermès bags and pieces by artists including sculptor Alexander Calder.

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