Mar 25th, 2016, 12:15 PM

L'Eclaireur Fashion Boutique: "Divergence Is a Way of Life"

By Gina Dunn
Image Credit:
Exploring avant-garde fashion retail in the Marais.

A visit to the L’Eclaireur location at 40 Rue de Sévigné in the Marais will leave patrons feeling as if they have tiptoed down and emerged from a fantastically edgy rabbit hole. While The xx plays in the background, shoppers will find a variety of men’s and women’s brands such as FendiCeline and Saint Laurent. For the daring, there is a current selection of avant-garde including Issey MiyakeSacai, and Yohji Yamamoto.

L’Eclaireur was founded by Martine and Armand Hadida at the intersection of fashion and design, for the “worldly client." L’Eclaireur has five locations in Paris, each with its own aesthetic and feel, catering to diverse customers. The shop is a must-go destination for travelers to Paris during fashion week.

The Sévigné location is a demonstration of contradictions. It is approachable luxe offered up by friendly and stylish salespeople. Yet, buyer beware, because nothing is as it seems. From the outside, it appears to be a small high-end store displaying fashion forward sunglasses, “niche” perfumes, and delicate scarves; however, this is only a ruse. 

Image Credit: Visit In.

Head towards the back of the store, and you will have moved from the trendy white-walled boutique into a shadowy corridor. Upon reaching this new threshold, you’ll be visually struck by the wooden sculpture just on the other side of the two daunting but slender glass doors in front of you. 

The merchandising space feels slightly dystopian and alludes to the idea of being built overnight. Belgian conceptual artist Arne Quinze designed the interior as well as the arresting arch, a tidbit that a sales assistant named Douglas will be sure to tell you. The wooden structure resembles another installation by Quinze, which he built and shortly after set afire at the Burning Man festival in 2006.

L’Eclaireur's vision of blurring the line between illusion and reality, executed with the help of Quinze, is achieved. What seems quaint and Parisian norm is anything but; what appears to be reflective metal is actually two tons of wood. Even the wall covered in mini televisions — there are 147 total — contains more than meets the eye: it conceals off-the-runway collections of Rick Owens and Haider Ackermann.

Image Credit: LECLAIREUR.

According to Quinze, “This is not a store, it’s an experience. This project is the formatting of a dream, an intention fed with emotions, stories, memories, like in a tale in which I hope everyone can find a little of themselves.”

No visitor to the L’Eclaireur Sévigné Marais location will leave empty-handed, even if it’s only with the memories of a fashionable adventure and the long-lost feelings of discovery.

L’Eclaireur  Sévigné , 40 Rue de Sévigné, 75003, 01 48 87 10 22,  Monday to Saturday, 11AM–7PM; Sunday 2PM–7PM