Hermès opens revamped Saint-Germain store
The house of Hermès has opened its revamped flagship store in the Saint-Germain-des-Près quarter of Paris, in a significant recalibration of its product offer.
Refreshed and refurbished, the 1,300 square-meter Left Bank flagship underlines how the luxury marque’s choice of prestige goods has radically changed in the past decade – with a larger fine and fashion jewelry section; extra space for watches and more extensive shoe section.
“Also, back when first opened, there was no such thing as Petit H. Now we will have a substantial section devoted to it,” explained Florian Craen, Hermès executive vice president of sales and distribution, referring to the house’s environmentally friendly concept of using the remains of all Hermès production.
The new space today houses all 16 Hermès métiers, and even boasts a large section for the Hermès Apple Watch, “which makes sense as we are now on its sixth generation,” smiled Craen.
Located at 19 rue de Sèvres, just meters from the area’s most impressive hotel, Lutetia; and across a small park square from the Left Bank’s great department store, Le Bon Marché, the space is ideal for well-heeled Parisians and more intellectual tourists.
The lower floor also contains a strangely undulating terrazzo floor, the remains of the flow-over gutter of a 1930s art deco swimming pool. The pool, originally that of the Lutetia, is still intact buried underneath the lower floor. While the inside walls look truly swish with a colorful new 120 metre-long fresco entitled 'L’Odyssée d’Hermès,' designed by French artist Matthieu Cossé.
The store’s grand entrance features arguably Hermès' most iconic product, high-color square 100%-silk scarves, in a “tunnel of silk,” as Hélène Dubrule, managing director of Hermès France, put it.
France boasts 22 Hermès stores, still accounting for 10% of the luxury brand’s annual turnover of some seven billion euros. Worldwide, Hermès has 306 stores in 45 countries, with 16,500 employees – 5,600 of them craftsmen.
Saint-Germain also features giant swirling ash wood “huts,” like semi-transparent vases, to house special sections, and a smart café with a great collection of art and photography boots, as well as a significantly larger fashion department, thanks to an extension into the building next door.
There’s even a small elegant equestrian section with several beautifully ergonomic saddles and uber-rich-looking riding boots, the true origins of a house founded in 1837 as a harness shop by Thierry Hermès.
“No matter which ever store of Hermès you enter, there is always an equestrian section. It’s the DNA of the brand,” smiled Dubrule.
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