Lined with ornate baroque façades of historic townhouses, you could easily say Place Vendôme is the most prestigious address in the retail landscape of Paris. As the planet’s largest luxury behemoth, Louis Vuitton obviously has been present here for quite some time, but with a ‘modest’ boutique stocking merely its jewellery and watch collections. Well, that’s a little different now. Right across the square, at the corner of rue St.-Honoré, a Louis Vuiton Maison has just opened its doors to much fanfare. It’s designated as a Maison or flagship, and has resulted in a store design with plenty of bells and whistles. Occupying two 18th Century townhouses – historically known as Hôtel Baudet de Morlet and Hôtel Heuzé de Vologer – constructed by French architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart, the buildings have been restored with the greatest care.
Architect and longtime collaborator Peter Marino was entrusted to design fitting interiors for 1,400 sqm. of retail space across two floors. The expansive ground floor presents Louis Vuitton’s coveted range of bags and other leather goods, men’s ready-to-wear, shoes, travel items and jewellery pieces. One floor up, women’s apparel can be found, in addition to shoes and accessories. Shoppers will also come across the Louis Vuitton Guides and home objects, and last but not least, the so-called apartment, an exclusive inner sanctum of sorts where the most discerning clients can discreetly view and try on their trophies of choice.
Being a Louis Vuitton Maison, the brand obviously has pulled out all the stops to turn any shop visit into a highly memorable one, instigating such an experience also through an infusion of art. The luxury house commissioned no less than 21 artworks by a number of leading contemporary artists from around the planet, including Paul Nabulumo Namarinjmak, Laurent Grasso, Yan Pei Ming, Stephen Sprouse and Serge Alain Nitegeka. The remaining two floors are home to ateliers – one dedicated to crafting haute jewellery, and another focuses exclusively on creating red carpet garments for high-profile celebs. Preceding the Maison’s star-studded opening party earlier this week, Louis Vuitton’s s/s 2018 women’s collection by creative director Nicolas Ghesquière was presented on site during Paris Fashion Week.