Saint Laurent has always been a revolutionary brand. The original Saint Laurent Rive Gauche boutique, opened on the Left Bank in 1966, was the first ready-to-wear store in a couturier’s own name. Last spring, the brand’s current creative director, Anthony Vaccarello, unveiled another groundbreaking boutique on the Right Bank (with a sister store on Los Angeles’ Rodeo Drive opening the same day). Naturally, this one is named Saint Laurent Rive Droite.
The new boutique sprang to life after iconic concept store Colette announced its closure after 20 years, giving Saint Laurent first dibs on its three-story space on Rue Saint-Honoré. The relationship was close: Colette’s final collaboration was with Saint Laurent, and it was the first store to carry Vaccarello’s own line, back in 2009. ‘I didn’t want to lose the spirit of curiosity that was at Colette, a place where people went to see what was new and happening,’ Vaccarello explains, seated in Saint Laurent’s magnificent new Left Bank HQ. ‘I wanted to show something else beyond the typical four collections per year.’
Rive Droite is a reflection of its funkier, more accessible location, and its large glass windows invite passers-by to pop in, no matter the colour of their credit cards. Its interior is airy and light-filled, fitted out in black and white marble, concrete and glass.
The hand-picked staff is welcoming, but also knowledgeable about the eclectic and ever-changing inventory, from primitive sculptures to gilded skateboards. Customers are invited to browse and touch the wares. ‘I don’t want it to be a museum,’ Vaccarello emphasises. ‘We already have younger customers, and the idea is to make products that are attractive for them. Saint Laurent was a very youthful brand in the 1960s and 1970s. It shouldn’t become something sacred and untouchable.’
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