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Saint Laurent's new Paris flagship is an exercise in true luxury

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Boutique Champs-Élysées Credits: Saint Laurent

Saint Laurent's newly inaugurated global flagship store on Paris' infamous Champs-Élysées exemplifies the epitome of pared-back luxury. Unveiled in December 2023 following an extensive renovation, the boutique encapsulates expansive spaces with a minimalist aesthetic, employing refined materials like concrete, stone, and wood. This transformation was a deliberate choice by Creative Director Anthony Vaccarello, known for his penchant for enduring design, as evidenced by the selection of sofas and chairs from American modernists Donald Judd and Rudolph Schindler.

Upon entering the store, visitors are not immediately confronted with products. Instead, the focal point is a striking light sculpture by Welsh artist Cerith Wyn Evans, which dominates the foyer. The interior design sets a new standard for luxury retail, where no expense appears to have been spared, yet the ambiance remains tastefully understated and avoids ostentation.

A distinctive feature of the store is the intentional concealment of much of the brand's collections. Marble cabinets subtly showcase a few bags, while the complete range of leathers and options are revealed only when drawers are opened, unveiling a spectrum of colours and sizes. A sliding mirrored wall discreetly conceals more precious materials, such as ostrich and python, emphasising the curated and exclusive nature of the shopping experience.

Less is more

This deliberate concealment strategy ensures that each piece feels special and collectible, precisely catering to the expectations of high-net-worth clients that Saint Laurent targets. Sales associates play a crucial role in discerning which shoppers are in the market for more precious items, tailoring their presentations accordingly.

The changing rooms, resembling Parisian studio apartments in size, provide a luxurious and comfortable environment with seating and expert lighting. The upper floors of the building exude tranquility, encircling a terrace courtyard adorned with lush greenery. The flexibility of large spaces, facilitated by hidden sliding doors, allows for the creation of personal shopping havens for those seeking privacy. Alternatively, patrons can relax on lounge chairs, savouring a glass of champagne while selected pieces are brought to them.

What truly resonates is the amicable staff, taking the time to showcase and explain the intricacies of the store's design to visitors who, on this occasion, may not be shopping but have come to appreciate the location's architectural qualities. In a retail landscape characterised by more-is-more opulence, Saint Laurent's flagship store on Champs-Élysées stands as a paragon of sophisticated and curated luxury.

Anthony Vaccarello
Saint Laurent