Belgian firm OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen designs Paco Rabanne’s new Paris boutique
More toolbox than jewel box, the first Paco Rabanne store in over a decade opened on Paris’ Rue Cambon in late January 2016, marking an exciting milestone in creative director Julien Dossena’s reign at the French house. It’s only natural that pragmatism would overcome decoration here, for a space dedicated to the rigorous, utilitarian garments that Dossena has assimilated into his oeuvre for the modernist fashion label.
Designed by the Belgian firm OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen, the intimate boutique is accessed via a sliding glass door, which opens directly onto a triangular parquet floor crafted from natural cowhide. The warmth of the leather floor counters the otherwise cool and spare ambience of the space, which is lined by rails and cabinetry obscured by a horizontal and vertical system of perforated aluminium doors. Those are left open at various angles to both exhibit and conceal handbags, mesh jewellery and knitwear displayed on back-lit shelving, creating an interesting graphic play that echoes the label’s iconic chainmail as well as the linear effect of zips, slits, and panelling in Dossena’s collections.
For the fashion-forward Paco customer, perhaps wishing to try an athletic cocktail dress or a technical second-skin sweater, the fitting rooms evoke a slightly cosier environment – wherein black-framed mirrors and lamps are posed alongside seasonal handbags on beige cabinetry. Located down a short corridor, their lacquered fittings aspire to the style of Austrian master Adolf Loos, who rejected ornamentation in favour of harmonious materials and pure lines. Complementing this holistic Paco experience, a bespoke scent by Dossena and nose Dominique Ropion is distributed through the space via a hidden atomiser, its fragrance aimed at distilling the ‘leather-metal signature’ that runs through his designs. It extends the neutrality of the space, which will lend well to the evolving aesthetic of this designer-to-watch: Dossena has quickly re-positioned an ageing label at the forefront of fashion’s new establishment.