L'Exception is about to open an... exceptional store
E-commerce site L’Exception is not the first website to open a physical store. But, being specialised in creative brands, it is not going about it half-heartedly. It is set to open a 360 m² store in the spring at the renovated Forum des Halles, the two initially planned sections having been clustered together.
L'Exception's opening at Les Halles has certainly not come about by chance. The website's management had been seeking for some time for premises adequate to the retailer. "But it isn't easy to find 300 m² or more in fashionable neighbourhoods in Paris, especially the Marais and its first three arrondissements. And for the right price," emphasised Régis Pennel, founder of L’Exception.
The Paris city authorities were looking for a designers space and not just for the major retailers to have a presence at the renovated Forum des Halles (the Forum in the past did host a designers space). Property developer Unibail-Rodamco thus went looking for a partner, saw many prospects and chose L'Exception.
The developer's and the authorities' search was conducted with the pro-active assistance of the French federation of women's ready-to-wear apparel, which also took part in the negotiations. A role which proved once again, as with the recent Traffic trade show, the federation's engagement in support of creativity.
To set up a winning project, L'Exception turned to architect Philippe Rizzotti and to Frédéric Ruyant and Vincent Barré for the furniture. Rizzotti has already designed pioneering retail venues such as the Nose fragrance store in rue Bachaumont, in Paris' Montorgueil district.
"The brief that was given to them can be summarised in three words, said Régis Pennel. Minimal, sophisticated and warm!"
Of course the store itself will never be able to showcase the website's 7,000 items. The objective is to modify the range regularly, adapting to the weather or any emerging trend. Through digital tools, it will also be possible for the website's entire range to be made available in the store. Régis Pennel has not disclosed anything about the tools.
In terms of the range, the plan is to feature several collaborations, but in this case too we will have to wait for further information.
In any case, the physical store will always feature new designers and a 25 m² branded pop-up corner, with alternating brands, with its own display window. The premises will also host a 70 m² café operated by the Coutume Café from rue de Babylone, in the 7th arrondissement.
The Forum is expected to be open on Sundays. The founder of L'Exception also noted how the presence of gardens, cafés and cultural venues should help generate store traffic.
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