We would imagine there would be a tad bit of pressure to maintain the shoe department at the world’s oldest department store, Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche, however, shoe buyer, Fabienne Ruset, knows luxury and exactly what her customer wants. The store recently underwent a renovation and the shoe department was at the forefront of the facelift. Boasting 2000 square meters of the world’s most luxurious and creative shoe designers, Ruset is responsible for introducing her clients to the season’s most sought after accessories trends season after season. As Ruset points out, Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche, is the ultimate one-stop-shop, and a shopping experience unrivaled around the world.
Obviously with the unveiling of the new space for shoes, things are going well! How did the expansion come about?
The shoe department is a new step continuing the recent series of major interior refits at Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche. SHOES are one of the strongest categories for women – an object of desire that is almost irresistible – We needed a space to expand and express our vision. This 2000 square meter space narrates a season’s latest trends through four different stories that each set their own scene: luxury brands, designers, models, avant garde creations and traditional master shoemakers. The setting is quite spectacular showcasing the building’s original architectural features. Glass canopies have been restored, a legacy from the 1870s, giving a cathedral of light, art deco motif is deployed as a common theme and unique furniture pieces are displayed.
What does this mean for the Le Bon Marché brand as a whole?
Le Bon Marché is the reference in Parisian shopping. It is both trend driven and known as an early adopter, carrying the most exclusive and cutting edge brands in the heart of a 19th century classic building. A balance unique to Paris: mixing timeless, tomorrow, and expertise. We needed such a space that translates the creative energy currently at the footwear front.
How long have you been involved with the department store?
My story with Le Bon Marché started 15 years ago when I joined the department store as a sales manager for women’s ready to wear. Then I evolved as buyer for the home department.
After an experience of seven years in marketing at Louis Vuitton, I came back to Le Bon Marché as the head of the women’s accessories department. It is such a fascinating store and dynamic environment that I was thrilled by the idea of working on this huge project of revamping the entire accessories department.
Where were you before? How did your previous experience equip you to buy for such an iconic brand?
Everything is a learning curve – STEP BY STEP. This is definitely the most intensive and creative project I have been involved with..and the result after so many months of renovation in close relationships with the architects, contacting the brands, transmitting my passion to get them involved, building strong collaborations and creating limited edition and capsules – it is a very rewarding project.
How closely do you work with the buyers in other departments? Are you always sharing trends and overlapping designers?
We have to – We have a Director of Style who defines the transversal trends and selects with us the new designers and the talented emerging brands. So, many buyers, but one voice – the one of the first department store in the world…
Who are your bestsellers?
The must-have luxury brands include Celine and Valentino. Brands like Pierre Hardy and Michel Vivien perfectly combine our Parisian edgy and loyal clientele.
There are also many creative designers like Sophia Webster, Isabel Marant and more casual ones such as Chiara Ferragni and exclusive sneakers brands. And do not forget the smart and chic Weston and Church’s – which express the feminine/masculine trend. And of course, The GLITTER collection we just launched with 30 top designers –perfect for Spring.
What do women come to Le Bon Marché for specifically?
It is a one stop shop – curated from head to toe, from Maison Michel to Givenchy sandals, a lunch at La table de La Grande Epicerie, a manicure at Kure Bazaar nail bar, a make up session at Nars, pick up some Christophe Robin rose volume spray for your hair, anything for the home and finish at La Grande Epicerie for the homemade pastries, fresh fruits and vegetables , or a hostess gift for your next dinner party.
What will they discover?
I always hear that it is a pleasure to shop here…the merchandising, the curated choices, the exclusive pieces, the amazing space itself and the special attention to the customer.
The store first opened in the 19th century – do you ever feel pressure in your role being part of such an incredible history of
fashion and style?
We do have a responsibility to fulfill this unique image as we are the first department store ever created. Day after day we try to convey the best to our customers. The best customer experience, the best of a promenade, the best as a creative platform introducing new talented designers and brands. And the best special attention to customer service .
Who are the most interesting shoe designers you have introduced your clients to?
Francesco Russo, Marie-Alice Malone, Laurence Dacade, Gianvito Rossi, Nicholas Kirkwood…
Paris Fashion Week recently ended, and we were all inundated with the “Best places to eat, hang out, and shop” – what are some of your favorites we may not be familiar with?
Castel for a late drink; Christophe Robin for my hair color; The Flea Market on Sunday. And I must say I love to cook so the Grande Epicerie is the ultimate shopping experience – a foodie heaven…