Galeries Lafayette Haussmann


Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann has just unveiled its new Lingerie space, far from stereotypes, in an inclusive approach that emphasizes diversity and femininity.

Interview with Director of Visual Identity & Merchandising Benoît Laumaillé telling us about this very clear and natural concept to which Hans Boodt Mannequins brought its expertise through personalized fabric covered bust forms and fiberglass accessories.

Photos #krystiesparow

What is your ambition behind this new Lingerie store concept?

Our objective is to reflect today’s trends. In terms of look & feel (visual attractiveness of the space and the ergonomics of its interface with clients), it summarizes the synthesis of case studies observed by our teams around the world, for instance in California or in Milan during Salone del Mobile, applied to Galeries Lafayette’s identity.

This space proposes an inclusive viewpoint by approaching women freely in their diversity, whether in terms of styles, morphologies, genres or opinions. It is also for this reason that it has incorporated strong feminine personalities in its universe: from Charlotte Perriand’s inspirations for interiors to a selection of drawings by Rose McGuinness, and also some collections of ceramic vases created by female designers.

It represents a whole way of life through its lifestyle offer. In addition to lingerie and swimwear items, we offer wellness & home decor products as well as professional manicure.

How did you translate this approach from an architectural point of view, in terms of interior design, textures and colors?

It is very modern. Like a loft space, it spreads itself over an open space of 900 square meters.

As it is separated from the rest of the floors of Galeries Lafayette, it remains very intimate. The place is built around the central pivot which follows the movement of the building like a protective shell, reminding the architecture work of Shigeru Ban. This feeling of intimacy is accentuated by the spirit of a “private apartment” and the sensory atmosphere resulting from the curves of the layout and the presence of furniture with a pure and delicate design. Timeless references such as Pierre Paulin interact with more contemporary ones such as Faye Toogood. The fitting cabins are also designed as living rooms.

We were very attached to the idea of simplicity. That’s why the customer experience had to be fluid and intuitive. Our products also had to be presented in a comprehensive way and all different sections needed good illuminated signage. The apparent technical ceilings reinforce the open-minded atmosphere.

Another essential criterion was the natural mood. This is primarily due to the incoming outdoor light and the lighting work, but also to the strong presence of vegetation (no artificial plants but dried flowers and ficuses). As for the surfaces, we opted for the softness of nude tones and pastel colors and for the warmth of raw materials such as wood essences.

Finally, it is a hybrid and living place where sales areas are connected with relaxing and interactive areas. The traditional concept of window display is here turned into inspirational spaces, which are also called «fashion lessons», in a wish of advice and transfer of knowledge.

How brands are selected?

Our selection is logically based on our inclusive approach. Our portfolio of brands extends from the most accessible to luxury. Young digital-native brands are proposed alongside the industry’s must-see brands (Chantelle, Henriette H, Jolies Mômes, La Perla, Nénés Paris, Princess Tam Tam, Simone Perele, Ysé, etc.).

How do brands express their personality in an open and unified space?

Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann wants to express its own vision through several multi-brand spaces, such as the premium swimwear space.

All brands can express their DNA in the respective corners thanks to the system of alcoves and screens. They are personalized more distinctly through a selection of furniture (carpets, seats or tables) that combine their identity and our look & feel.

Pop-up spaces create event areas and push the creativity of invited brands, whether they are emerging or more established brands.

In your collaboration with Hans Boodt Mannequins, was your brief directive or open to interpretation?

We had specific ideas but it remained a dialogue between our teams. We appreciated the proposals of Hans Boodt Mannequins to respond to our requests in a personalized way.

How did you translate your inclusive approach through the mannequins?

In our desire to express the woman in her diversity, we worked on the body morphology by developing, together with Hans Boodt Mannequins, bust measurements of up to size 42, which is unseen in the world of window mannequins.

How can you conciliate the classicism of a couture bust with a contemporary vision?

One can opt for the bust form without having to fall into the ambiances of baroque boudoirs or 18th century Parisian private mansions. Our choice was dictated by simplicity and timelessness.

Hans Boodt Mannequins has immersed itself into the nude and natural tones of our space to revisit the iconic bust form with color block finishings on the basis of 3 colors only, and then by the use of craft materials like heavy linen for the body and raw wood for the arms. The silhouette has been “re-stylized” and the cylindrical platinum bases echo the curved shapes of the architecture.

Modernity is precisely to know how to combine traditional know-how such as the craft of lace with more contemporary and simpler forms that highlight the product. It is also our choice of natural colors and materials that create this vibe of sensuality – an essential aspect of a lingerie space – but in a more sensitive, intimate and feminine approach.

Socks and tights seem to have been approached in contrast using more realistic forms?

Indeed, for feeling reasons but also to create powerful visual merchandising. They were intended to be positioned like sculptures, on two large monolithic tables made of mineral materials. Some details deserve special attention: the feet are magnetized to avoid unsightly bases and a custom opaline pink fiberglass has been developed for a better integration within this universe.

How did you stage the models in space? Are they static or on the contrary dynamic?

At Galeries Lafayette, it is part of our signature to work the bust forms with a strong acting attitude: always in a group, as friends, in a relaxed and complicit way, which also matches with the all-over idea of diversity and inclusiveness.

From a more general point of view, do the models need to fit into a set, or do they bring life to the set?

It must be a balance between the product, the space and its furniture. By their style and attitudes, mannequins are supposed to blend in with the look and feel of the floor to which they are dedicated.

Is your lingerie universe a pilot project intended to be used throughout the Haussmann store or the national store network of Galeries Lafayette?

That’s not on the agenda. Galeries Lafayette think of design with an in-situ approach, adapted to the specificity of each store and its catchment area, in order to better meet the expectations of its customers.

Benoît Laumaillé

Director of Visual Identity and Merchandising at Galeries Lafayette

Interview:  David Herman