Inaugurated in october 1912 with great ceremony, the big store Galeries Lafayette on boulevard Haussmann still draws crowds one hundred years later. Its elegant architecture and its selection of designers’ brands explain such a success.
No less than 11 million foreigners come to visit the Haussmann store every year, and each client spends more than 1000 euros there.
Chinese clients are first of all attracted to luxury items (Bags, Jewellery, premium Watches) which are traditional gifts in China. Prada and Miu Miu relate that they are just as pleased with classical bags as with new collections. Secondly, they are interested in trends of great French fashion Houses and last of all, good wine. Thus the “Bordeauxthèque” – a wine cellar especially dedicated to Bordeaux wines – which the Lafayette Gourmet Foodstore opened in 2010, found its purpose.
On the other hand, Brazilians focus on Women’s Shoes and Children’s Fashion from all over the world.
As to Russians, they set their heart on fragrances, but also on Women’s Shoes and the great French fashion Houses, not to leave out Children’s Fashion, Men’s Fashion, and Jewellery.
The latter captures the fascination of Frenchwomen, followed by Leather Goods. Whereas Shoes are in the third position in France, they rise to the first position of Japanese women’s desires. Last of all, the Englishwomen’s little favorite is the handbag.
A showcase under the dome
Open for 3 years now, the “Luxury Area” has to satisfy the new wealthy visitors, including those from the Middle East and India.
This shopping center on the first floor of the main store on 40 Boulevard Haussmann, measuring over 2000 square metres and totally dedicated to luxury items, will continue to sparkle brightly until 2012.
It was in 1893 that two cousins, Théophile Bader and Alphonse Kahn, picked out this strategic site in Paris at the corner of Lafayette and Chaussée d’Antin. The location and the layout were key to the conception of this great store in which you come and go in very large aisles – hence the name of Galeries Lafayette.
The inauguration took place at the time of the edification of its dome. Inspired by a neo-Byzantine style, this 33-metre high glass dome comprises of ten painted windows encapsulated in rich metallic frames beautifully sculpted. Also admire the balusters at each level adorned with leaflets and signed Louis Majorelle.
Under this splendid dome, the new “Luxury Area” exhibits in a circular manner the collections of over twenty great luxury Houses as well as ten or so new talents: the Galeries Lafayette want to stay true to their first principle : “Fashion and Innovation”.
Nathalia Bienvenu-Kapferer, December 2011
Translation : Léa Oukache