To celebrate its 160th anniversary, Le Bon Marché has asked French actress Catherine Deneuve to participate. Illustrations in the windows and a documentary celebrate the «Rive Gauche» spirit of the emporium, till the 6th of October 2012.
«Relaxation, freedom and fantasy…being able to go to the Flore, to the Pantheon movies while going to buy a book.». That is what Catherine Deneuve likes about Rive Gauche.
The movie star is staged with humor in the illustrations. for Marjane Satrapi, «the world is Paris, and Paris, this is Catherine Deneuve». As a page of a «pop-up» book, the drawings are exposed in volumes. They will be subject to a set edited in 160 copies, sold 900 euros. A percentage of that will be given to the sponsorship hospital Necker-ill children service.
The emporium of initiated
At the border of the 6th and 7th districts of Paris, close to Saint-Germain des prés, Le Bon Marché can boast to represent the Rive Gauche spirit. It attracts, without rising their prices, a «select» clientele, both parisian and foreign. Its ambition is to «make this place unique, to cultivate a singular identity» with spots like «Le Théâtre de la Beauté», «L’Appartement de Mode» for wowen fashion, «La Maison d’Edition» gathering the art of living, with a design space, and «La Grande Epicerie de Paris». An impulsion that has been given since 1984, at the time where Le Bon Marché was being bought over by LVMH.
At the entrance of the store, the great names of luxury brands have each their own boutique. One can find a private stylist service and beauty treatment, not to mention the valet service. Le Bon Marché also wants to make its «Grande Epicerie de Paris», a Parisian institution with more than 30 000 products from all over the world, as well as 3000 references of champagns and alcohols. A gourmet corner, called «La Cuisine» proposes to-go repices or to eat at the counter.
The story of Le Bon Marché starts in the 19th century with Aristide Boucicaut, son of a milliner. He came to Paris to become a calico, he quickly understood that there is a place for a new type of commerce which would offer more choice. That is how he and his wife transform a simple shop into an «emporium», in which one can freely enter and walk around without being harrassed. The commercial innovations multiplied : fixed prices, reduced margin, home delivery, goods exchange, mail order selling, sales, privates concerts and library corner !
Nathalia Bienvenu-Kapferer, September 2012
Translation : Gautier Delavaud
Photos credit : Le Bon Marché