I'm taking a class here in Paris that is basically teaching us how to build our own luxury brand from the ground, up. Every other week, our professors, who actually work in the fashion industry here, take us out to tour luxury stores and learn about everything that goes into creating and maintaining a luxury fashion brand. Last week we went to Les Suites, a concept store that sources its clothing from designers all around the world. The goal of Les Suites is to give the customer the ultimate luxury shopping experience and pieces that are unique in the world. On the floor, there is one of each piece on display in a very clean and neatly organized space. Some on dress forms, expertly styled, and some on perfectly spaced hangers. Depending on the designer, Les Suites carries one to three sizes in each piece. There is a tailor in the store to take measurements and adjust garments to fit the client flawlessly.
The store consists of three rooms, each with a different concept. When one of the employees unlocks the door to let you inside, you step straight into the pret-à-porter, or ready-to-wear, section. This clothing is a little bit more casual than the rest of the store's inventory and can be purchased pretty much right off the rack. There are many accessories mixed in with the apparel and an entire two tier table full of Chanel flap bags embellished by an Asian designer.
The next room on the ground floor is a combination of apparel and accessories and all of the items are on sale. The word sale is always exciting but even at 60% off these pieces would put me in miles of debt. This room of the store had everything from shoes to jewelry, to evening gowns and Chanel. So much Chanel. I was in heaven.
After exploring the ground floor and imagining living the rest of my life in that white Chanel blazer, we headed to the second floor where all of the magic happens. This is where the haute couture is kept and where clients are taken to try on the pieces and have them all fitted. Climbing the staircase, which was made of solid marble, I came face to face with a dress that sparked a plethora of inspiration. Little black dress with a simple silhouette and a cascade of hand cut, heat pressed, and appliquéd fabric flower petals. While I'm not necessarily in love with the placement of them, the idea unleashed the floodgates on my creativity that's been a little stale as of late. I spent quite a bit of time inspecting the petals and construction of the dress before even considering moving on. This dress still has my mind reeling.
The room to the left side of the staircase is where clients are taken with their entourage to try on whatever they choose. The doors are closed to give privacy and fluffy white chairs and a couch sit on the far end for everyone to sit and watch. Drinks and snacks are brought in and the client tries on clothing and has things fitted while her friends or family watch, drink champagne, and give their opinions. Whether it be someone looking for a dress to wear to a friends' wedding or someone searching for a perfect red carpet look, the service given to the client is impeccable. The reason clients come to Les Suites is not only for one of a kind service, but one of a kind clothing. The associates at Les Suites get to know their client, what kind of event they are shopping for, and what their style and taste consists of. Whatever dress is ultimately chosen is the only one Les Suites has and, in most cases, the only one the designer has made. This way, if someone comes into the store next week shopping for the same event, it is impossible for her to purchase the same piece. This is Les Suites biggest priority when servicing their clients: bringing back the idea of uniqueness and exclusivity and unattainable status to luxury shopping. Today, anyone can save their money and purchase a Louis Vuitton. It isn't unique and it isn't considered luxury. Les Suites is committed to providing the classic luxury concept to their customers and that is what makes them so successful.
The last section of the second floor is dedicated to the latest featured collection. Currently on display is a gorgeous spring collection from an Asian designer. The decor in this room was inspired by Louis XIV, the inventor of the luxury industry. All of the pieces in this room were so beautiful I wanted to die.
Ultimately, Les Suites is an incredible establishment and their commitment to luxury is evident in every aspect of the boutique. I was amazed and inspired and grateful to be given such an incredible opportunity to tour a place like this. Hopefully someday they will be stocking my designs. Until then, I'll just keep dreaming.
Of course, I had to take a mirror selfie!