The first department store is reinventing online shopping
Le Bon Marché in Paris is considered to be the first modern department store. It s opening in 18 38 was greeted by the upper classes with wild excitement, and as a result retail would change forever. Gone was the practice of haggling at the market or in individual stores, replaced with a luxury shoppi ng ex per ience, where ever y t hi ng you could ever need was housed under one roof. So alarmingly new was the immersive in-store experience that it led to a spike in thefts among well-todo shoppers. ‘I felt myself overcome little by little by a disorder that can only be compared to that of drunkenness… Everything stimulated my desire and a s sumed, for me, a n ex t raord i na r y at t ract ion. I g rabbed hold of t hi ngs without any outside and superior cons ider at ion i nter ven i ng to hold me back… It was like a monomania of possession,’ said one shoplifter.
Fast-for ward almost 180 years and Le Bon Marché – which has resided at 24 rue de Sèvres since 1869 – is hoping to alter t he way we shop once again with the launch of its website 24sevres. com. The online shop will stay true to t he et hos of t he depa r t ment s tore: stocking more than 150 brands – from big names including Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior to younger designers – it will focus on both the product and the experience of shopping itself.
Ian Rogers, the digital brain behind the brand, left Apple Music 18 months ago to lead 2 4 Sèv res’ launch. ‘The internet has evolved from a text-driven editorial medium to an imagery and video-based one,’ he says. ‘We felt it was time to take our expertise in visual merchandising in the off line retail world and t ransform it online.’ But how to stand out in an already crowded e-com- merce multi-brand market? The online store aims to offer unrivalled customer service, with video consultations with Parisian stylists, a generous rewards programme and express shipping to 75 countries. Plus, to cut the metaphorical ribbon, 24 Sèvres has partnered with 67 brands – including Chloé, Givenchy, Loewe and Marni – to create a capsule of each fashion house’s iconic pieces, in partnership with a figure from the arts, cinema or music scene, or an ‘ambassador of the Parisian art de vivre’. While this might not incite shoplifting, it will make us itch to click ‘add to basket’.
1 — Vinyl printed jacket, £1,425, Courrèges x Chloe Wise. 2 — Studio bag, £1,525, Proenza Schouler x Keith Haring. 3 — Velvet mules, £435, Salvatore Ferragamo. All from 24sevres.com 1