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Is Jacquemus Ready for Retail?

The French brand is testing the waters of luxury retail with an ‘ephemeral boutique’ on Paris’ Avenue Montaigne during September’s fashion week. The store is officially temporary, but sources say the brand is exploring a longer-term retail presence.
Jacquemus used a 24-hour vending machine concept for temporary boutiques in Paris and Milan.
Jacquemus used a 24-hour vending machine concept for temporary boutiques in Paris and Milan. (Jacquemus)

PARIS — Jacquemus is testing the waters of luxury retail with a store on one of Paris’ most prestigious shopping streets. The brand is set to open a 3,200 square-foot, two-level space on Avenue Montaigne on September 27 during Paris Fashion Week, BoF has learned.

A Jacquemus spokesperson characterised the project as an “ephemeral boutique” in the mould of the brand’s previous temporary retail projects like a Jacquemus-branded flower shop and 24-hour handbag vending machine in Paris, or a swimming pool-inspired corner in British department store Selfridges. Whereas previous pop-ups proposed a tight commercial edit, the Avenue Montaigne store (located between Gucci and Jil Sander) will sell products across categories, but put a particular focus on high-end ready-to-wear pieces from Jacquemus’ latest collection, called “Le Papier,” the brand said.

The location is currently slated to remain open for five months. But market sources said the project has no fixed end-date, and that the brand is exploring a longer-term retail presence, potentially leading to the Avenue Montaigne location becoming Jacquemus’ first permanent store.

“We remain open to all options,” a Jacquemus spokesperson said.

Establishing a presence in luxury retail would mark a strategy shift for Jacquemus, which has built a substantial business selling mostly through wholesalers and its online store.

The fast-growing brand recently appointed a new CEO, former Paco Rabanne chief Bastien Daguzan, and confirmed its high-profile collaboration with Nike would continue through the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. The company is targeting 2022 sales of €200 million, according to an industry source.

“Really the brand has exploded,” founder Simon Porte Jacquemus told reporters following a runway show held June 27 at a salt mine in France’s Camargue lowlands.

A focus on retail and other directly-controlled channels has been central to the strategies of high-end fashion brands as they seek to create immersive customer experiences, crack down on discounting and boost operating margins. But the investment required to open stores in prime locations remains a significant obstacle for many designers.

As one of fashion’s most famous up-and-coming brands — with a young fanbase that extends well beyond the industry bubble — Jacquemus could help to enliven Avenue Montaigne, where foot traffic has been slow to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

While the street has historically catered to ultra-wealthy visitors to palace hotels like the Plaza Athénée or George V, a sprawling Christian Dior flagship that opened there in April came with more inclusive propositions like a pastry shop and fashion museum, in another move that could help draw a wider range of consumers to the luxury hub.

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