PARIS — When Robert Acouri opened his Paris design idea retailer La Manufacture in November 2019, he couldn’t have predicted that the French capital’s retail sector was about to enter the hardest interval in its historical past.
First got here the violent protests marking the one-year anniversary of the anti-government Gilets Jaunes motion, then a 50-day transport strike, and eventually, final March, a full lockdown designed to curb the unfold of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Sadly, this zone is very depending on vacationers, so we’re struggling rather a lot,” the businessman stated. “Fortunately, we’ve got one other enterprise, which is workplace furnishings, that’s permitting is to outlive for now.”
Regardless of its aborted takeoff, the boutique stays open and is one thing of a gem hidden in plain sight: tucked away on Rue Edouard VII, a pedestrian road within the coronary heart of the enterprise and theater district between Place de la Madeleine and the Paris Opera, it’s inside straightforward strolling distance of main malls and Place Vendôme.
Conceived by the model’s artwork director Luca Nichetto, the two,700-square-foot area is a cross between a showroom and a dwelling area, with a bar the place retailer director François Castiglione presents a choice of complimentary teas, and comfy sofas and chairs within the again room.
“The concept was to have the ability to host folks as if I have been internet hosting them at dwelling,” Acouri stated.
The shop carries a signature clothes and accessories assortment, alongside dwelling wares and furnishings by established designers together with Oki Sato, Patrick Norguet and Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance, alongside rising abilities like Emma Boomkamp. Finishing the provide is a choice of upscale magazines and Byredo fragrances.
Acouri stated he wished to reconcile French type with Italian craftsmanship below a sluggish luxurious banner, as an antidote to the rash of marketing-heavy Scandinavian manufacturers which have flooded the inside design market in recent times. Objects are made on an industrial scale, however with high-end materials from the likes of Rubelli and Lesage Intérieurs, and hand-finished touches.
“I wished to work with worldwide designers and convey to it a way of French sophistication that you may’t discover at these different manufacturers,” he stated. La Manufacture commissioned Studio Blanco to develop its visible identification, which is subtly echoed in Nichetto Studio’s retailer design.
For the clothes line, Acouri tapped designer Milena Laquale, whose résumé contains stints at Karl Lagerfeld and Fendi. Now on its third assortment, La Manufacture presents classics for women and men designed to face the check of time. Males’s fits are made in Naples, as are the hand-finished Paolo Scafora males’s footwear.
The ready-to-wear options a number of recurring symbols, together with a superhero character who rescues a panda, an endangered species meant to represent craftsmanship. The Spazio 38 showroom in Milan is answerable for worldwide distribution.
Acouri, who was born in Lebanon however has lived most of his life in Switzerland and France, started his profession in style. Within the late ’90s, he helped Monaco actual property tycoon Michel Pastor develop his Ichthys style line, and subsequently, Acouri labored for French style label Loft Design By.
Since then, he has switched to workplace design and in 2012 acquired Cider, an organization that has created progressive places of work for corporations together with cosmetics big L’Oréal, start-up incubator Station F and promoting company Publicis. Its headquarters, positioned above the shop, illustrate the design synergies between the 2 companies.
“I need design to affect style, and vice versa — and that’s what we do,” Acouri defined. As an illustration, Byredo perfurmer Ben Gorham has designed a espresso desk referred to as Work Extruded, whereas particulars of Boomkamp’s Playtime rug assortment, handwoven in Mexico, have been reprised on a capsule knitwear line.
Acouri hopes that when the COVID-19 restrictions ease, La Manufacture will turn into a magnet for vacationers and a haven for true luxurious. “For me, queuing to purchase a purse is just not luxurious — it’s an indication of dependancy fueled by advertising, and it actually bothers me,” he argued.
“I created this place for people who find themselves sick of shopping for luxurious items with enormous logos on them, and who’re in search of one thing extra area of interest that’s rooted in storytelling and a cultural strategy,” he added.
“These days, except you come from Japan or China, the place import taxes are very excessive, there is no such thing as a level shopping for a [luxury] bag in Paris. You possibly can simply as simply purchase it in New York, Amsterdam, or elsewhere. Alternatively, shopping for one thing at La Manufacture in Paris will actually make sense, since you gained’t be capable to discover it wherever else,” Acouri stated.