Paris Department Stores Host Parties

Paris department stores celebrated la rentrée — the traditional back-to-school season — with a week full of events.

La Samaritaine launched its “Paris en mode Arty” program, with a chic coctail at the store’s ultra-modern Rivoli location.

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Bright Pop Art decorated the floors with installations from young artists.

A graduate of Hermès crafts academy, Marion Flament took over the street-level windows with a bright sunburst glass sculpture, while Ella Batts uses body parts blown out of proportion to create a massive pastel wall. An interior walkway was painted by Cecilia Granara in sunny motifs inspired by Italian and Moroccan floor tiles. Another stairwell is dominated by the bright pink tapestries of Turkish artist Désiré Moheb-Zandi.

Bringing in art and merging it with commerce is “part of our DNA,” said Nathalie Montaldier, vice president of marketing for DFS Europe, which operates the store. “We have a different approach, to have brands that are consistent with our storytelling and to give new experiences linked to art.” Montaldier said she envisions the walls of the department store “like a blank canvas” for artists to display their work, which changes quarterly.

The idea is to approach this section of the department store — closer to the main shopping street of Rue de Rivoli — as a concept store, Montaldier said. It attracts younger customers and mixes fashion, lifestyle, accessories and art including curated events such as inviting customers to customize Cahu tote bags.

It has brought in pop-ups and special items, including a limited-edition Ruinart bottle painted in pastels by Claude Viallat. The bottle is only available at Samaritaine and the Champagne house’s headquarters in Reims.

The installations will last through October.

Artist Cecilia Granara
Artist Cecilia Granara

The following night, Le Bon Marché celebrated its 170th anniversary with a splashy party with a carnival atmosphere. There was popcorn and colorful cotton candy machines and a giant maze for guests to get lost in.

CEO Patrice Wagner held court as guests filled up the interior floors, before pop star Mika took to the stage — and atop a grand piano — to sing his hits just ahead of the kickoff of his European tour.

The store will be featuring its own pop-up “La vie en orange,” with vintage luxury accessories including 40 Hermès bags and pieces from artists including sculptor Alexander Calder.

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