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Anthropologie brings its boho-chic fashion and lifestyle world to Paris

Translated by
Nicola Mira
today Sep 20, 2019
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Nestled in one of the narrow, lively streets of Paris’s Marais district, it seems as though Anthropologie has been thriving in the neighbourhood for several years. Indeed, the boho-chic mood and vibrant creativity the US brand is keen to foster fits hand in glove with the area. Yet, the US lifestyle, fashion and home decoration retailer only opened its first store in Paris on September 20, at 21 rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie, ahead of a second opening scheduled next week in the city’s central Opéra district.

Anthropologie is renowned for the sophisticated décor of its stores - FashionNetwork/MDeslandes

Anthropologie’s 300 m2 store, at premises formerly occupied by Diesel, overlooks the street with a set of traditional shop windows, and extends at the back into a substantial space brightened by a large rectangular skylight.

“The retail area is fairly small compared to our US stores, but in Europe’s capitals you need to be located in the heart of town. Here we managed to express our DNA through an extensive selection of products ranging from apparel to home decoration, and by personalising the store,” said Luella Lane, creative director of Anthropologie Europe.

Both the ambience and the product range are appropriate to Paris. Anthropologie has a dedicated team in the French capital that curates the visual image and interior decoration of its two new stores. For the Marais boutique, it created an artisanal installation made with hundreds of hanging ginkgo leaves, and commissioned a wall fresco to Parisian illustrator Florence Balducci.

Anthropologie’s Marais store adjoins names like Levi's, Nature & Découvertes and Le Passage du désir - FashionNetwork/MDeslandes

On the product side, slightly more than half of the range, which in general varies depending on the location, consists of items by Anthropologie’s own brand, the rest being of a selection of guest labels and partnerships. The new Parisian store showcases a series of local collaborations, with fashion designer Nathalie Lété, with textile designer Woola La for a line of eco-responsible scarves, and with jewellery designer Louise Hendricks.

“People sometimes say that retail is dead. Our approach is to make a visit to our stores a genuine experience, and I’m convinced that customers will go out of their way to come here,” said Lane. Anthropologie encourages customers to rummage around and discover new items, as they would do in a vintage store or a flea market. A chic one, of course.

Art and creativity play an important role in Anthropologie’s brand identity - FashionNetwork/MDeslandes

Anthropologie was created in 1992 by the Urban Outfitters group, and its price positioning is rather upmarket: while some tableware is priced at around €10, some of the dresses carry a €300 price tag.

Lane said the brand doesn’t have a specific customer target: it intends to attract women of all ages, from adolescents to grandmothers, Parisians at the Marais store and mostly tourists at the Opéra one. “We know that Paris loves us, and we are eagerly awaited here,” she added.

Both in fashion and homeware, Anthropologie is keen on prints and a broad colour palette (with golden leaves in the background) - FashionNetwork/MDeslandes

Anthropologie is known in France since at least 2014, when it made a first foray with concessions at the BHV Marais and Galeries Lafayette department stores. It has now dropped these collaborations, looking to establish its own store network in the country.

In 2018, Anthropologie’s global sales rose by 8.76%, reaching $1.598 billion (€1.44 billion), and it currently operates nearly 200 stores worldwide. It is only beginning to establish a foothold in Europe, where it has 15 stores. After Paris, the next destination will be Amsterdam, where Anthropologie’s first Netherlands store will be inaugurated in November.

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