Re­tail his­tory

The first de­part­ment store is rein­vent­ing on­line shop­ping

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - THE CUT - SW

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

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