Burberry loves Printemps and so do I, actually. Thanks to Burberry’s pop-up shop – imagine biker-inspired limited edition items – and their ‘Art of the Trench’ promoted by edgy Parisian chics like the actress Hande Kodja, bloggers Marie Courroy, India Weber, Kenza Sadoun and stylist Mélanie Huynh – I have rediscovered Printemps, the nineteenth century department store. The building has had a serious facelift – every rotunda has been generously re-gilded – and has been brilliantly revamped inside by Yabu Pushelberg – the American-Canadian firm of architects. Glamorous, it's 1930s in feel – my favourite period – but in a contemporary way. The lighting manages to be bright but flattering – essential for trying on clothes – and entering the place becomes a total upper. Since I loathe shopping, I don’t write that lightly. But I have to admit that my Printemps experience rather blew me away.
"The building has had a serious facelift – every rotunda has been generously re-gilded – and has been brilliantly revamped inside by Yabu Pushelberg"
Most of my friends prefer and toot Le Bon Marché. True, the left-bank store is well done and elegant but is a little too seventh arrondissement (read: self-important and pretentious) for my taste. Printemps, on the other hand, defines international and accessible. There’s also history in the walls, furthered by the story of its founder, Jules Jaluzot, the exterior as well as a fluidity and harmony between the floors that prevents it from being faceless and bland: the bane of so many high-end retail places. Due to the spacious and well-constructed layout, popping into the array of designer spaces is pleasant. Not unlike visiting different countries except their names are Balenciaga, Pucci and Tiffany. Finally, Printemps secured the services of Marie Luisa Poumaillou whose former rue Cambon boutique introduced many to Helmut Lang and others. After going through her choice of British brands such as Victoria Beckham, I’m happy to report that Marie Luisa remains her discerning self.
The Burberry Loves Printemps pop-up shop continues until October 20.
Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni is a Paris-based British writer who covers fashion and lifestyle as well as being the author of Sam Spiegel – The Biography of A Hollywood Legend, Understanding Chic, an essay from the Paris Was Ours anthology, the soon-to-be released Tino Zervudachi – A Portfolio – as well as the Chanel book, for Assouline's fashion series.
Robert Beck is former New Yorker currently based in Paris. A former classical dancer, his book for children titled "A Bunny in the Ballet" will be available early in 2014 from Scholastic, Inc.