LE BON MARCHE
My very first "real" job was styliste- fashion consultant- at Le Bon Marché. As a matter of fact I was the left bank department store's very first fashion consultant. And the store needed all the fashion help it could get! However, and to put it mildly, I met some resistance from
some most of the buyers who, very set in their ways and resenting any advice from a 20-something newcomer, would kindly and very visibly deposit my trend reports in their wastebaskets upon receiving them. Very destabilizing for a young designer just fresh out of fashion design school, eager to help and naively convinced of her usefulness... an education in one "easy" lesson.
With the help of the younger buyers, the head of buying and my stubborn ego, things got better as time went by. I can't say I single handedly revolutionized the store's image. Not even close of course. That came much later when the store was bought by LVMH and its new CEO Philippe de Beauvoir, a colleague of mine from my later days in Le Printemps Group, entirely transformed the image, branding and interior architecture of the store.
These images, from the 40's and some 70 years later, say it all wouldn't you say?
Among the most spectacular changes, Andrée Putman's stunning escalators are a must-see when in Paris.
The store is now much more high end than in my time and it attracts a very select clientele from all over Paris and especially the 6th and 7th arrondissements around it with its trendy fashions and luxurious accessories, large home department, a fun haberdashery floor (yes, in 2011!) and a wonderful book store.
My very favorite part of the store has to be La Grande Epicerie Paris, a large upscale market, something like a huge version of Grand Central Market at Grand Central Station in New York City.
Everything you can dream of is on offer including great fruit and vegetables, a million kinds of loose teas presented in tall gray canisters, mouth watering pastries and delicious ready made dishes from the traiteur counter.
On the top floor over La Grande Epicerie, a simple but refined lunch inside or on the terrasse at the Delicabar designed by architect Claudio Colucci, a quiet relaxing outdoor spot, will be just the thing after a harried shopping day.
images septentrion, le bon marche, trip advisor, juste a cote, the paris traveler,collucci architecture
Maybe this time around, Le Bon Marché info will not go directly into the "recycle bin"...