Saint Laurent has recently opened a unique store concept in Paris in the space previously occupied by Colette at 214 Rue Saint Honore. Described by the house as “a creative and cultural destination,” the new store will launch in line with a sister retail space on Los Angeles’s Rodeo Drive.
Dubbed Saint Laurent Rive Droite, the brainchild of Anthony Vaccarello is a departure from the minimalist stores of the brand’s past. In addition to the women’s and men’s ready-to-wear and accessories, it will sell a range of limited-edition, hand-picked collectibles, including furniture, books, vinyl and art, plus novelty items, such as skateboards, yoga mats, stationery, lighters and phone cases.
“We want to be more immersive for the consumer, and possibly reach some people who wouldn’t necessarily come to Saint Laurent, but who could – through this boutique – better understand the universe I’m trying to create,” Vaccarello told WWD of the thought process behind the space. “Without imitating Colette, the idea was to have collaborations with brands that I love, and also make it a place for cultural events like film screenings and concerts.”
The name of the store, which also hopes to lure a new set of customers in via its coffee counter, is a twist on “Saint Laurent Rive Gauche”, the first ready-to-wear boutique opened by a couturier in 1966. “My heart is on the Left Bank, but I think the Right Bank is more plugged into real life,” mused Vaccarello. “It’s where young people hang out – it’s cooler.”
Similarly, the choice to set up shop in LA is rooted in Vaccarello’s view of the city as a destination where the “living is easy and people are more open than elsewhere”. Such audiences, he believes, will be receptive to Saint Laurent’s new spirited in-store storytelling. “I think stores in general are boring. Everyone is copying everyone else, and everything looks the same. There is very little to distinguish one house from another,” he explained. “To me, Saint Laurent is the only house where you can really dream and picture something different.”
Once the ribbons are cut on June 8 – two days after the menswear spring/summer 2020 show in LA – the brand will roll out select ideas to other stores. “[The stores] will be like laboratories where I can mix things a certain way and test ideas,” he continued.
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