La Samaritaine to kick off two-month fete of its 150+1 anniversary on Thursday
The revelries include an exclusive Prada pop-up; art historian tours live and on the store’s YouTube channel; a giant cake from artist Elsa Muse; special cocktails and pastries from ace barmen and chefs; and a slew of new Senegalese products in the corner store Loulou.
Back in 1870, the store and the Samaritan woman was born when the first stall opened under the partnership of Ernest and Marie-Louise Cognacq-Jaÿ. That small Pont Neuf space grew into a department store and Paris icon much loved for its exuberant architecture and unexpected product mix.
Two months ago, after 15 years and a €750 million start restoration, its new owner luxury giant LVMH reopened La Samaritaine - reborn as a high-end shopping destination and concept store that also boasts a dozen restaurants.
The birthday celebrations will run from September 2 until October 31; led by a giant seven-story-tall pastry cake imagined by Elsa Muse, designed to tell the history of the store. Inspired by the technique of the Zootrope (a precursor of cinema), sugar characters come to life as the cake rotates.
Stores windows will also highlight an exclusive collaboration with Prada, heralding the Milanese marque’s two-month pop-up residency. It will include a video floor connected to a lantern inspired by the geometry of the Prada triangle, and an exclusive selection of ready-to-wear, leather goods and women's accessories.
Elsewhere, Matthias Giroud, head mixologist at Voyage, and Jérémy Del Val, French dessert champion at Dalloyau, will unveil a box where cocktails and pastry are designed to blend seamlessly. While Margaux Brugvin, art historian, plans to guide the general public through the department store’s lore.
Located in the first arrondissement of Paris between the Rue du Rivoli and the Seine, La Samaritaine is ideally placed for tourists, a path trod by an estimated 20 million tourists annually. It’s smack between the Louvre and Notre Dame, and overlooking the city’s much-loved bridge, Pont Neuf. At the southeast corner of La Samaritaine one finds the eclectic Loulou boutique, named after founder Marie-Louise and priced for little pain at the cash register. Loulou will fete the founder with iconic products, like jewelry from Saona or Soline Camart, a fashion selection from the Bisous Skateboards project or handcraft treasures developed by the CSAO in Senegal.
And it being Paris, the whole two months of celebrations kick off with a cocktail fete under the fifth floor verrière Thursday evening.
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