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Balenciaga to Open Paris ‘Couture Store’

The Avenue George V store will stock limited-edition pieces and act as a ‘gateway to couture,’ said CEO Cédric Charbit.
Balenciaga is opening a ‘couture store’ on Paris’ Avenue George V.
Balenciaga is opening a Paris "Couture Store" that will stock limited-edition items and act as a “gateway to couture," said CEO Cédric Charbit. (Courtesy)

It’s been a year since designer Demna’s revival of Balenciaga’s couture business, which re-energised the brand with iconic silhouettes made modern as well as impeccably designed renderings of wardrobe basics, including jeans, T-shirts and hoodies.

Now, Balenciaga is opening a “Couture Store” at 10 Avenue George V, housed below the brand’s traditional couture salon, offering limited-edition clothing, accessories and objects that can be personalised or altered by the ateliers upstairs. The initial lineup will include a €350 candle ($365); €3,500 eyewear; bags priced from €8,500 to €15,000; and clothing commanding as much as €100,000.

The new store, set to open on July 6 — the same day the brand will present its latest couture collection — will serve as a “gateway to couture, which remains a very closed universe, especially for new generations,” said Balenciaga CEO Cédric Charbit.

Many of the brand’s top clients — who account for about 20 percent of Balenciaga’s annual sales — are interested in couture but don’t know how to buy it, he added. Others want one-of-a-kind products but crave instant gratification.

“No one knows where to buy couture. It’s not transparent for a client,” said Charbit. “With a clear store, couture is no longer something that’s an illusion.”

Balenciaga is not the only brand experimenting with new high-end store concepts. In May, Chanel revealed plans to open dedicated boutiques for top spenders, starting with locations in key Asian cities early next year. Brunello Cucinelli opened a dedicated store for private clients in New York last December. But Balenciaga’s new concept has a more inclusive spin.

The brand has boomed under the creative direction of Demna, who has democratised Balenciaga with memeable products that go viral on social media while simultaneously pushing it further upmarket with couture collections that position the brand at the height of luxury.

Similarly, the “Couture Store” will cater to high-spenders as well as fans of the brand eager for greater access to its creations, said Charbit, adding it’s too early to know whether Balenciaga will roll out its ”Couture Store” concept beyond the Paris store.

Owner Kering does not break out results for Balenciaga, but annual sales have reportedly surpassed €1.5 billion.

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