Apr 9th, 2019, 12:30 PM

Changing the Way You Shop

By Greta English
The new Galeries Lafayette flagship store. Image Credit: @galerieslafayette Instagram
Galeries Lafayette Champs Elysées is the ultimate concept store.

When most people think of Parisian department stores, their minds usually picture large stained glass ceilings, Haussmann style architecture and of course, loads of tourists. The new Galeries Lafayette, which opened Thursday, March 28th on the famed Avenue des Champs Elysées, completely shatters this image. 

Through a combination of new technology and heightened customer service, Galeries Lafayette Champs Elysées has completely modernized the shopping experience. The 6,500 meter flagship was designed by Danish architect, Bjarke Ingels. Ingels, who is known for incorporating social messages into his unconventional aesthetic.   The art deco building  takes on the aspect of  a modern art museum. Throughout the space there are art pieces such as an instillation by Danish artist group, Superflex, entitled "Après Vous, Le Déluge”.  A 15 1/2 feet high dotted blue glass encircles the atrium. The line represents where the Seine water levels will likely be in 100 years.  Mixed in with the exhibit, 3-D art structures display clothes and accessories.

Sunglasses are displayed in a modern art structure. Image Credit: Greta English

Galeries Lafayette Champs Elysee does not carry any brands that the original flagship store on the  does. Instead of Zara and Topshop, you’ll find luxury street wear brands such as BAPE, Off-White, and Martine Rose. Clothing racks are sparse, as only one of each clothing item is on display. The clothes hangers have touch screens on them where you can see the price and available sizes. With the touch of the screen, you can select your size and a staff member will promptly bring the clothing piece to you. However, not all hangers have this feature, as a large number of the items are exclusive one-of-a kind pieces.

Touch screen hangers display the price and available sizes. Image Credit: Greta English

The store also added a technological twist to accessory browsing. Customers can now view the latest shoes, belts and purses rotating around a large conveyor belt in the middle of the store. 

If you need help browsing the new collections, fear not. The flagship decided to say au revoir to the traditional inattentive Parisian sales people, replacing them with personal stylists. These personal stylists are here to help customers create the ultimate fashion look. While personal stylist in luxury stores is not a new concept, Galeries Lafayette Champs Elysées is the first department store to offer it on such a wide scale. The personal styling sessions are free to all customers, with no appointment needed. The stylists are all experts in the field. Before being able to work at the store, all 300 stylist had to complete a styling course at the Institut Français de la Mode.

A conveyor belt displays accessories. Image Credit: Greta English

I personally got the chance to have a session with a pair of stylists.  Before we started, they brought me a drink and fortune cookie to snack on while we shopped. The stylist asked me about my personal style, my size, and what kind of look I was going for. Together we walked around the store, pulling everything from shoes, skirts, bags, and jackets, to create a look. At the end, they took pictures of my outfit and put it on my Galeries Lafayette account so I could access the look when I wanted. 

As more and more retailers continue to die of consumer boredom, Galeries Lafayette Champs Elysées brings new life back to brick and mortar. The instagrammable and technologically innovative store is about more than just buying, but also experiencing the joys of fashion.

Experience Galeries Lafayette Champs Elysées at 60 Avenue des Champs Elysées, open Monday-Saturday from 10:30 am to 12 am and on Sundays from 10:30 am to 9pm.