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Saint Laurent Babylone
Saint Laurent BabylonePhotography by Paul Phung

Inside Babylone, Saint Laurent’s New Brutalist Bookshop in Paris

Curated by creative director Anthony Vaccarello, Saint Laurent’s new bookshop houses a diverse collection of books, art and music

Lead ImageSaint Laurent BabylonePhotography by Paul Phung

Within the expansive world that Anthony Vaccarello is building for Saint Laurent – the house he was handed the keys to in 2016 – clothing is just one part of the furnishing. As well as asserting his slick fashion philosophy, underlined by a timeless elegance and smouldering sexuality, he also introduced Rive Droite – creative and cultural destinations curated by Vaccarello – which house the label’s numerous collaborations with photographers and artists. Opened last month, a bookshop and gallery space at 9 rue de Grenelle in Paris’s 7th arrondissement, Saint Laurent Babylone, is the latest incarnation in the Rive Droite universe, which offers a diverse and globe-spanning range of rare books, art pieces and records.

The name Babylone references the duplex at 55 rue de Babylone that Yves Saint Laurent had moved into in 1970, where the designer lived with his partner Pierre Bergé until his death in 2008. The home was to become not only a living space, but a sanctuary for creativity and innovation. (“Some people change apartments every three years,” Saint Laurent once said, “I move around objects; it gives them a new life.”) And like Saint Laurent’s home, the store will play host to an evolving body of cultural ephemera as a gathering space in the heart of Paris for the artistically inclined, as well as becoming a destination where authors can hold signings and musicians can perform sets.

The latest curation on display in Babylone is dedicated to the provocative French singer-songwriter and actor Serge Gainsbourg, in collaboration with Maison Gainsbourg and Charlotte Gainsbourg, the daughter he had with his long-term partner Jane Birkin. Featuring roughly 350 original pieces spanning four decades, the curation features a vast selection of manuscripts, original scores, personal photographs, rare books, film posters and magazines. There is also a selection of pieces for sale, including a single-breasted, peaked-lapel pinstripe jacket – a redesign of the effortlessly cool staple Serge Gainsbourg incorporated into his daily uniform – designed by Vaccarello to accompany the opening of the Maison Gainsbourg exhibition.

The space is designed to emulate the 1966 Rive Droit boutique, with minimal marble worktops and prints hung on industrial off-white plastered and exposed stone walls. There are spots to sit down and flick through some of the many tomes that pepper the space, and take stock of the varied ephemera that line the countertops, from art, design, fashion, and photography books to rare first editions and literary classics. These include the continually expanding Saint Laurent Rive Droit Editions titles, made in collaboration with artists like Bruno Roels, Daido Moriyama and Jeanloup Sieff, which celebrate the creativity that the label has long been devoted to. 

Alone in Babylone by Anthony Vaccarello in collaboration with Maison Gainsbourg is on show until 31 March 2024.