Triangle d’Or

One upon a time, far away in Ancient Egypt, great funerary monuments, the pyramids, were built to bury Pharaohs and wealthy Egyptians in luxurious sarcophagus with their luxurious belongings. The great pyramids of Giza were one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Once upon a time in Paris, the capital of luxury, in the end of the 18th century, wealthy Parisian families decided to settle in the west of Paris, in a triangle district called the Golden triangle.

The Golden triangle, nowadays the temple of luxurious brands, reminds us of the shape of the pyramids, the tombs and temples of the pharaons.

Who are the kings of Paris Golden Triangle? Which treasures does the Parisian Triangle hide?

The Golden triangle, also called the sublime triangle, is in Paris’s 8th Arrondissement between three of Paris’s most famous avenues: The Avenue des Champs-Élysées, the Avenue Montaigne, and the Avenue George V. A world of elegance and refinement, in the poshest district of the capital, renowned for its luxury shopping, legendary hotels and restaurants.

The mythical avenue of the Champs-Elysées, a display of luxury and wealth, is the most beautiful and one of the most expensive avenues in the world. It was named in reference to the place where the Greek heroes lived according to the Greek mythology. Once a swampy land, Les Champs-Elysées is studded with high-end boutiques like Louis Vuitton, fashion houses, and some of the city’s most iconic sites like the Arc de Triomphe and the Place de la Concorde with its ancient Egyptian obelisk. It attracts one of the world’s most glamorous crowds.

The Avenue Montaigne, absolute incarnation of luxury, is twinned since 1967 with Madison Avenue in New York. This once-gritty street, used to be called “l’allée des veuves” – literally the alley of widows – is lined now with luxury shop stores. Christian Dior, the visionary, was the first to open its boutique in 1946 to attract rich customers of the Plaza Athénée hotel. The other big Maisons followed him: Chanel, Gucci, Céline, Louis Vuitton, Fendi among others mostly belonging to the LVMH group, one of the biggest property owners. However, some big French families still have apartments in avenue Montaigne.

The third Avenue of the Golden triangle, The Avenue George V, was named after the King of England, to pay tribute to the France’s ally during the First World War. It’s one of the most prestigious avenues in Paris. The Avenue hosts luxury boutiques as well as luxurious palaces and restaurants like “L’Hôtel George V”, famous palace of the capital with its art deco style, and the Prince de Galles Hotel that welcomed people like Winston Churchill and Marlène Diedrich, Charles Laughton, Dalida. A step further, the Crazy Horse, one of the most famous cabaret of Paris.

As royal and luxurious as the pharaohs’ pyramids in Egypt, the Golden triangle is Paris luxury treasure, the fruit of a long meticulous and patient craftsmen’s work. May it be lasting and eternal like the pyramids, to make the renewal of Paris and to make it shine again and again through the centuries.

Nada GHANTOUS, Clémence LEFEBVRE, Bruno MOREAU, Julien PORTE

#triangledor #efapmbaluxe #decodingluxury

 

 

 

Couturier du rêve

One of the most notorious fashion designers of all time opened his first shop at 30 Avenue Montaigne in Paris, 70 years ago. Few years later, he succeeded in creating and giving a unique and iconic silhouette to women.

Over the past decades, six very privileged and talented artistic directors were able to follow his footsteps and perpetuate the heritage left by the man we called “the Prince of fashion”.

 

“The Dream maker”

For the Maison’s anniversary, Dior and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs honor this genius fashion designer, as well as his « descendants », Yves Saint-Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Churri. The name of the exhibition, Christian Dior, couturier du rêve, refers to the mythical image of the brand as well as the spectacular decor set up in the museum.

The surprising path, proposed by the two commissioners Florence Müller and Olivier Gabet, takes us through the history and the universe of the Maison, from 1947 to nowadays, with a stunning and moving scenography. This romantic, nearly magical atmosphere of Christian Dior enchants the well-known Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Indeed, as soon as we enter, the revamped entrance gives the visitors the mystical feeling of entering in the famous 30 Avenue Montaigne.

In this exhibition, paintings that Christian Dior liked, mingle with fashion pictures, extracts, reports, and many sketches that inspired his creations are not to be missed. The pleasure to see the iconic and instantly recognizable Gris Montaigne as well as all the emblematic colors of the Maison like red or pink can be seen in a staggering display of colors in a room where shoes, bags and dresses are all organized chromatically. Flowers like the rose, lily of the valley or many fabrics such as silk, lace, taffetas, organza enhance the astonishing scenography making the visit interactive and poetic.

But what truly marveled the visitors were these hundreds of dresses designed by all these artistic directors who contributed to build the international reputation of the Maison Christian Dior and will continue to transmit Dior’s legacy to the generations to come.

Welcome to Wonderland

The visitor travels through time and Christian Dior’s fashion by immersing himself in vestiges of the past and rare pieces of the brand’s archives. While plunged in the dark to admire the famous “Tailleur Bar” of 1947, among other objects belonging to the creator. Mixing antiques with technology, the visitor is invited to “push” virtual buttons on the wall to make details of the couturier’s life appear. Then, he will be dazzled by pure white prototypes of the Maison in a bright room, as if he was entering in the Dior paradise. However, it is upon arriving in the nave of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs that the true magic takes place, with a rich spectacle of light, music and dresses.

Thirty unique and breathtaking pieces of the creator are brought back to life with an amazing play on lights making way for a true firework of emotions: a shower of gold sparkles drizzling on the walls and the priceless Renaissance paintings. A pure delight, all in the name of Christian Dior.

For several months, the exhibition fascinated over 380,000 visitors. The dream continues until January 7th, 2018. So tell your friends, whether they are curious amateurs or fashion enthusiasts.

« Au fond de chaque coeur sommeille un rêve, et le couturier le sait : chaque femme est une princesse. »

Written by Alexandre Pierotin, Camille Dorvidal, Tamara Cavin, Alice Brandicourt, Antoine Erwes and Laura Pianko

#decodingluxury #efapmbaluxe

Colette, the end of an era

Colette, the woman

Insiders call her only by her first name, Colette, also known as Colette Rousseaux, is the creator of the concept store of the same name. Daughter of a fishmonger, then wholesaler of ready-to-wear clothing in the 1980s, she opened the mythical concept store 20 years ago. Her name is adulated by hyped people and venerated by fashionistas around the word, but Colette has always been anonymous. We don’t know anything about her, or almost nothing, not even the face. Helped by her daughter Sarah Andelman who is the new artistic director of the store, they form a duo as discreet as accomplice.

Colette, the concept store

Located at “13 rue Saint-Honoré”, Colette is today considered as the temple of the fashion world. The concept store, spread out more than 700m², became the meeting point of fashion, fragrance, music, and publishing sectors. Colette distinguish itself thanks to its avant-gardist, original and exclusive products, but also through its sensory marketing, which enhances the quality of the customer experience in store.

Our experience at Colette

We went to this iconic temple, but taking videos at Colette was complicated. It is possible to film the store globally but when we wanted to zoom on some products, the seller explained to us that it’s forbidden for security reasons. During our visit, we discovered the last collaboration of the store with Chanel. For 20 years, Colette has collaborated with many brands and celebrities, such as Dior, Ikea, Pharell Williams, H&M… Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.

The end

Colette announced on her Instagram account last July 12th its final closure during the month of December 2017. The news was like a bomb for Internet users who imagined an eternal success for Colette. But “Colette Rousseaux comes to the age where it is time to take her time. And Colette can’t exist without Colette.” The concept store whose the name sounds more than ever today, says that negotiations are in progress for the recovery of this iconic place by Saint Laurent.

Anna, Leslie, Diane and Margot

#efapmbaluxe #decodingluxury

Place Vendôme

The « Saint of Saints », « high place of creation in the world » or « temple of luxury “; praises do not lack to describe the famous and prestigious Place Vendôme in Paris. The high jewelry square is greatly known across the world. This gem gathers the quintessence of jewelry and watchmaking. Nonetheless, is the history of the Place Vendôme truly known and cared about?

Focus on the lively history of a Place that was initially not meant to such a promising future.

The story of the Place Vendôme dates to the reign of Louis XIV. In 1699, Jules-Hardouin Mansart, official architect of Versailles, designed it to put the equestrian statue of the Sun King right in the center. In 1805, Napoleon won the famous battle of Austerlitz. He replaced the column of Louis XIV by the Vendôme Column. It was built from the bronze of the enemy’s cannons. At the top of the structure, he installed his statue. During Paris Commune, the monument fell next to a crowd who came to see the column as a symbol of « brute force and false glory. » It was eventually restored in 1875. The Vendome Column was therefore a way to express the legitimacy and power of Napoleon, a way to glorify the image of France and a way to flatter his pride.

With such a reputation, how did the Place Vendôme manage to reverse the situation and to convert itself to luxury?

Jewelers used to settle in the Palais Royal, near the power. The Place Vendôme, at this point, was exclusively exploited by the beautiful hotels nearby. But 1893 became a turning point for the square with the arrival of the first jeweler, Frédéric Boucheron.

The success of his settling in inspired his jewelry colleagues who opened their first boutiques in the Place Vendôme: Cartier, Chaumet, Van Cleef & Arpels, Mauboussin, and so on, progressively moved there themselves. This wave of newcomers continued with prestigious watchmakers such as Piaget, Chopard or Rolex, as well as major fashion Houses that follow a strategy of diversification (e.g. Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Dior). This craze for the Place Vendôme turned it into the focal point of French High Jewelry. Within a few decades, it became unnecessary to justify the legitimacy of a brand, from the moment they had a store in the Place Vendôme. Beyond its name changes, the identity of the Place Vendôme has therefore evolved a lot throughout history.

How could the Place Vendôme’s identity be described today?

Nowadays, the square and its surroundings have an interesting paradigm. Everything about the Place Vendôme is discreet. Jewelers and watchmakers isolate themselves, away from the rest of society and work quite discretely. They let themselves be desired and wait for customers to take an interest for them. We know where they are. We know what they are doing. Customers travel expressly from the other side of the world to go to the Place Vendôme and buy their jewels. Of course, they do it in an inconspicuous way. The jewels express themselves; they become a source of emotion.

Paradoxically, the Place Vendôme seems to be a bit ostentatious. The Louis Vuitton House which opened last October is a good example of that. At the exit of the Malletier’s House, visitors continue their excursion. They enjoy the setting, the stroll, they take the time to discover and admire the jeweler’s shop windows. The story told in the shop windows capture their attention and fascinates them. They take the time to dawdle on this theatrical poetry and let their imagination go as pleased. They take pretty pictures to capture the moment, to capture this experience that they just lived, before going back to their daily routine. The ambivalence of the Place Vendôme allows to bring together different social stratifications around a common base that is simply, luxury.

Arthiya Mohan, Ines Paulin, Sarah Djegaoud, and Aurore Picq

#efapmbaluxe #decodingluxury

An invitation to dream

“Luxury is not the opposite of poverty, it is the opposite of vulgarity” Coco Chanel

French luxury is an expertise, a “savoir-faire”. Craftsmanship is luxury. A product is luxurious when it is handmade, tailored for few. Like in poetry where each word means, each detail is important. Luxury is poetry because poetry makes people dream. And what does Louis Vuitton, for example? It invites us to travel through its ads. The odyssey of Cartier is an invitation to dream.

In our society where time is money, where people are always in a hurry, luxury is taking time. People want to be pampered. Luxury is difficult to obtain, which is related to the exclusivity and the rarity. Luxury is something that we have merited, we have waited for.

Luxury is something expensive and pleasant to have but not necessary. Nowadays, we can meet people who wear any kind of luxury symbols without « looking » luxurious. They only look rich. Because today luxury involves exclusiveness, uniqueness, and not because it is addressed to few people, because it is so special.

We could also define luxury by comparing the American vision of luxury, and the French one.

Certain celebrities are more show-off, they show themselves on yachts, they take champagne showers, they wear big gold necklaces, and finally they show how rich they are.

At the opposite, French luxury is being sober, fancy. French people prefer discretion than the opulent decoration. That’s why we always speak about French elegance, about the “French touch”. This is not only an appearance; luxury is all in the attitude.

Written by the 4Agency team:  Anna Yovanovitch Diane Salat Baroux Margot Dufour Leslie Pecheur

#efapmbaluxe #DecodingLuxury

Maison Baude

Defining luxury is a complex thing to do. Indeed, not everyone has the same sensibility to it, and it can be a controversial subject. We asked several people to share with us their perception of luxury. And even if the answers can be different from one to another, the one thing they all agreed on, was that France, and especially Paris, plays a significant role in luxury, and is the cornerstone of it.

It is interesting to notice that although a lot of people we interrogated associate luxury with high prices and to show-off, most of them agreed on saying that high quality and strong brand values define a luxury brand. French luxury is the pioneer of luxury, especially when it comes to the know-how of the artisans, and to the quality of the products and services.

To have another perspective, we interviewed Ms. Elodie BAUDE who is very familiar with the sector. The Maison BAUDE creator and designer, who knows all about the industry, gave us her own perception of luxury.  According to Elodie BAUDE, the vision of luxury should come back to its beginning of it all. Luxury should be exceptional and rare, and not accessible for everyone. She explained that one of the most important things about luxury is the values of the brand. She also thinks that true luxury clients would not buy something just because it’s trendy, but because they deeply like it. She told us that France is obviously a trend setter regarding fashion, because the country has always been in love with fashion, and pays attention to every detail.

To sum up, what we learned from these answers is that there is not only one definition of luxury. It can be defined differently according to several factors like the tastes, the country or the social background of the person. Luxury is an individual appreciation and a cultural perception.

By Sidonie LAEBENS, Megane GORI and Helene RIGOUT

#efapmbaluxe #maisonbaude #decodingluxury

How LEVEL shoe district intends to sweep you off your feet

Looking for a new pair of shoes to match your latest outfit or just looking for that “one extra pair” you really REALLY need to complete your collection?…  Well, Level, the shoe district with 15,000 options might be just what you need if you live in Dubai or just happen to be visiting for the holidays. 

Level Shoe Store entrance

Part of the Chalhoub Group, this 96,000 square-foot store inaugurated in 2012 is a shoe paradise where you can find over 250 brands and 40 luxury boutiques in one single location. But much more than a convenient one-stop store, Level Shoe District aims to offer a “unique retail concept and destination”.  So what is it that differentiates Level from other shoe stores?

SERVICES are the name of the game it seems. While the store offers a wide range of traditional services and amenities – ranging from the inevitable café (Vogue), to the in-store stylists and concierge assistance, they also propose more unique services such as their own in-house cobbler and sole treatment lounge that might just make the difference.

If you ask my husband, the cobbler would be the seller. Nowadays, talented artisans with real savoir-faire are so hard to find that one would go miles out of their way to find one that really knows “his business”, and more importantly, that won’t ruin your favourite pair of shoes. In Level, the cobbler – a master purveyor of traditional shoemaking – creates not only ready to wear and bespoke footwear for gentlemen, but can also cater to your oldies but goodies and bring them back to life with special treatments including mirror shine, patina, full leather re-soling and heel replacement for both men and women.

Now, if you ask ME, I just can’t wait to indulge in one of the 3 dedicated Margaret Dabbs treatment lounges. A fully trained Podiatrist, Margareth Dabbs set up a series of Foot Clinics starting in 1998 in London, and pioneered the now renowned “Medical Pedicure”. Since 2013, she has taken her expertise and brought her professional podiatrists and nail technicians to Dubai to offer first class treatments. Fusing health and beauty and retailing her award winning product range, she provides outstanding care that visibly transforms the feet.

Level is not only a shoe store but a dream come true, pampering you from tip to toes when it comes to feet. What has brought them to the next level is certainly the quality of the overall experience, catering needs with savoir-faire and attention to details.

Personally, while in the store, my feet were barely touching the ground!

 

 

The Lounge at Fashion Avenue – Dubaï Mall

The Dubaï Mall is a singular place where all the fashion’s houses and luxury brands in general want to expose their universe to the UAE public.

Of course, the biggest mall of the world proposed an exceptional program for the best clients, taking into account the customers’ emotions and experiences, which are the main preoccupation of the program. The members of “The LIST” can enjoy the VIP Lounge access and allows them to have access at many services and privileges, like the valet parking, porter service or exclusive event invitations for example.

theloungeatfashionavenue-dubaimall-viewonfontains

The Lounge is a cozy space located on a high level, with an unparalleled panoramic view on the fountains of Dubai Mall and the Burj Khalifa –the highest tower of the world. The space proposes a dreamy location that will make everyone feel favor. An ideal location for previews or exclusive launches and events with an impressive venue that offers a unique space to showcase luxury brands in an intimate way.

For a coffee to start the day, for a tea time or to have a drink at night, this luxury experience isn’t just a place to be but mostly a full services show.

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With dedicated staff, the lounge is open daily from 10 am till 10pm. The esteemed members are welcome to have 2 guests to the Lounge and book the private rooms and the full lounge with a special rate.

 

A delectable spread of gourmet savories and sweet canapés will be served, complemented with a fine selection of beverages.

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The Lounge proposes also a private mini-car service to drive VIP’s clients throughout the mall. Personal shoppers are also dedicated in order to offer an intimate shopping experience.


We will understand that this is the perfect spot to take over for a luxury immersion made in Dubai. That is why, a lot of houses already make good use of it. Dior, Nespresso or more recently Sisley have enjoyed the interesting location and database of the concept place to present their new collections to a well-targeted audience.

 

Co-editing with Fatène Oukaci

Level shoe district, la pointure de Dubaï

Mardi 2 mars 2016, il fait presque 30 degrés dans les rues de Dubaï. Il est à peine 9h30 et les gens se pressent déjà aux portes du Dubaï Mall, étonnante et gigantesque construction de 800 000 mètres carrés. Parmi les nombreuses enseignes du centre commercial, niché au milieu des gratte-ciels, Level shoe district est le concept store qui fera pâlir de jalousie les vendeurs de souliers du monde entier.

600, c’est le nombre à peine imaginable de paires de chaussures que Level shoe district vend par jour à sa clientèle locale et internationale. Depuis son ouverture en 2012 par le géant du luxe Groupe Chalhoub, le concept store est devenu plus qu’une référence, il est une expression, une habitude. Impressionnante, c’est l’enseigne spécialisée dans la vente de souliers la plus grande du monde avec presque 9 000 mètres carrés de corners et boutiques et une liste quasi infinie de créateurs connus et reconnus et de nouvelles maisons prometteuses.

LevelShoeDistrict map

D’après Francesco Russo, Level shoe district est un « temple pour le luxe à Dubaï ». Le concept store s’organise autour de 2 grands pôles.

Chez la femme, ce ne sont pas moins de 80 grandes maisons qui sont représentées, chausseurs comme Giuseppe Zanotti Design, Manolo Blahnik, Gianvito Rossi ou Christian Louboutin mais aussi maisons de couture telles que Chloé, Céline, Oscar de la Renta ou encore Maison Martin Margiela. Plus simplement, ils y sont tous sans exception. Réparties entre corners et boutiques on retrouve certaines maisons dans deux alcôves autour du thème contemporain et trendy où décoration et ambiance musicale jouent le jeu.

Et parce que les hommes ne consomment pas comme les femmes, Level shoe district a offert à la gente masculine une expérience simplifiée. Environ 40 marques sont présentes et regroupées par thème. J.M Weston chez les classiques, Valentino chez les modernes et Nike chez les sneakers. L’homme qui entre dans le concept store sait déjà ce qu’il portera en en sortant, Level shoe district le sait bien.

On l’aura compris, Level shoe district est à l’image de ce qu’est Dubaï, démesuré dans le merveilleux et grandiose dans l’éclat. Que l’on soit banquier d’affaire en quête d’une paire de richelieu, fashionista à la poursuite de stiletto, ou encore ado accro aux Stan Smith, on trouve forcément chaussure à son pied.

Entrevue au Bon Marché

Dans l’univers du luxe, le service au client n’a jamais pris autant de place. Le vendeur se doit d’être parfait et faire de l’achat une expérience pour le consommateur. C’est le seul secteur ou le manager, qui est en contact avec le client, a davantage de responsabilité et de poids que le « marketeur ».

Pour mieux comprendre les ficelles de ce métier je suis allée au Bon Marché, grand magasin parisien qui a inspiré en son temps Zola pour l’écriture du « Bonheur des Dames » et qui appartient désormais au groupe LVMH depuis 1984. Le magasin regroupe les plus belles marques de luxe, c’est le paradis pour celui qui désire y satisfaire sa soif d’acheter. Dès l’entrée, le plus parisien des grands magasins surprend par son merchandising si travaillé : nous sommes transportés dans l’antre de la beauté et de la volupté; tout est mis en valeur.

Par chance, j’ai pu déjeuner avec la manager adjointe de l’enseigne de lingerie et de maillots de bain de luxe Eres afin qu’elle m’éclaire sur son métier. Elle a auparavant travaillé aux Galeries Lafayette pour la maison Dior mais également dans le « mass market » pour la marque H&M : intéressant de comparer les univers.

Nous nous retrouvons à la Grande Epicerie de Paris, le célèbre restaurant du Bon Marché. Dès son arrivée je remarque son allure irréprochable et son uniforme très élégant. Elle me confie dès le début de notre entrevue que dans le secteur du luxe l’apparence passe avant tout. Les vendeurs sont les ambassadeurs de la marque et ont des codes vestimentaires très stricts venant du siège de la marque qui appartient au groupe Chanel.

Nos plats servis, je lui demande de me décrire une vente et surtout la spécificité d’une vente dans le luxe en opposition avec une vente réalisée dans le « mass market ». Pour elle, toute la différence réside dans le temps passé avec la cliente : elle peut rester une ou plusieurs heures avec une seule personne afin de la conseiller pour le choix de l’ensemble de lingerie. Le service est très personnalisé contrairement au « mass market » ou une vente doit représenter 15 minutes. Ce qui m’a surpris c’est le soin réservé à chaque cliente habituée de l’enseigne lors des soldes. Les vendeurs ont chacun un « petit carnet secret » où ils notent les détails de la vie personnelle de leurs clientes mais aussi leurs goûts ainsi que leurs achats passés ce qui leur permet d’anticiper comme par magie la demande de leurs acheteuses. Lors des soldes ils mettent un ensemble de côté pour chaque cliente, l’ensemble parfait qui sied à merveille à chacune. La manager adjointe m’explique qu’elle connaît très bien ses clientes et les appelle pour les informer de cette attention. Les femmes sont ravies et se rendent rapidement au Bon Marché pour découvrir quel est ce fameux ensemble qui leur est dédié. La proximité est la clé de la vente; mais attention, elle me confie que la bonne distance est tout aussi importante : il suffit d’une erreur de langage ou de geste et toute la confiance et par conséquent la vente peuvent être rompues.

Curieuse de connaître qui est LA cliente Eres je lui en demande un peu plus. Elle sourit et me dit qu’elle reçoit beaucoup de personnalités importantes, françaises ou internationales, mais qu’elle doit taire leurs noms. Secret professionnel oblige. Elle sert des femmes presque uniquement parisiennes, de tout âge, qui ont un goût pour les belles choses. Car un ensemble de lingerie peut représenter plus de 400 euros.

En fin de repas, je lui demande de me parler chiffres et objectifs de vente car j’imagine que le siège de la marque est en perpétuel contrôle. Elle m’informe que bien sur, malgré le fait que le service prime, il faut réaliser un certain chiffre d’affaires par jour qui est calculé en fonction du chiffre d’affaires du même jour l’année passée et que le but et de le surpasser. Elle me livre que c’est un travail passionnant mais très stressant et intense.

Sur ce, je la laisse retourner bien rapidement à son poste où les clientes l’attendent déjà.