Feb 25, 2022
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Department store turned fashion studio: Paris's Samaritaine goes behind-the-scenes of the industry's creative processes

Feb 25, 2022

Through May 17, the French capital's famous La Samaritaine department store is paying tribute to two of its loves -- Paris and fashion -- with a behind the scenes look at the sector's design and creation processes. Window displays, installations, exhibitions, pop-up stores and events will be staged to celebrate French expertise, as well as fashion's various creative stages, from the designer's vision to the meticulous work of many talented craftspeople.

Just a few days before the start of the much-anticipated Paris Fashion Week, La Samaritaine has chosen to cast light on fashion's backstage secrets through a journey that retraces all the stages in the life of a ready-to-wear and haute couture collection. From the designer's office, teeming with ideas, to the photo studio, to the sourcing of materials and the design of garments, the Parisian department store is being transformed into a spectacular fashion studio for the occasion. And while there's plenty to see, visitors will also get the chance to get stuck in via a host of workshops, open to all.

Among the events, La Samaritaine is showcasing the most iconic photos by fashion photographer Erwin Blumenfeld, who worked for the American magazines Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. Through the installation "La Mode est un jeu" ("Fashion is a game") designed as a sensory journey, the department store offers a spectacularly staged exhibition in which visitors make their way between depth-of-field effects and optical illusions to observe each object with different points of view. The installation runs until May 12.

A backstage view of fashion

Visitors can also discover "La Table du Créateur" ("The designer's table") experience with Guillaume Henri, artistic director of Patou, and the ESMOD fashion school. This will offer a window onto the process of creating one of the looks in the spring-summer 2022 collection of the famous French fashion house. Here, trapdoors, installed on a desk, offer a glimpse of the different stages in the creation of a garment, from the original inspiration to the finished look, through the moodboard, the pattern and the fabrics.

No less than 100 sketches by students of the ESMOD fashion school are also featured to complete this voyage of discovery into the fashion world. As well as exploring various different styles, visitors will be able to see live sketches, where a student has 10 minutes to sketch out a look. You can even try your hand at fashion design, via the "L'Atelier à Croquis" app, then share your creations.

Fabrics and the work of fashion's many craftspeople are highlighted in "L'Atelier," ("The workshop") offered in collaboration with Nona Source, while visitors can take advantage of advice at "La Table de Beauté" ("The beauty table") before stepping into a photo shoot at Studio Samaritaine.

Window displays celebrate fashion's many specialists

The windows of the Samaritaine are also being transformed to pay tribute to the high-end expertise of the sector's many master craftspeople. Plumassiers, milliners, colorists, drapers and jewelers -- among others -- are taking over the windows of the Parisian department store through their work for some of the most famous fashion houses.

Finally, new pop-up stores complete the experience. The Frankie Shop, a multi-brand chain, has set up shop to present its unisex wardrobe, as well as a capsule designed exclusively for La Samaritaine, while the publishing house Assouline is presenting its finest editions.

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