Paris indie Maria Luisa to close
9 June 2010 | By Jessica Brown
Maria Luisa, the iconic French designer independent, is to shut up shop in Paris to focus on trading in department stores and online, claiming they are “100 times” more powerful routes to market than destination boutiques.
According to reports, Maria Luisa, which the global fashion industry has looked to for buying and retail inspiration for the last 22 years, will close its shop in Rue Rouget de L’Isle in August.
Owner Maria Luisa Poumaillou was appointed fashion editor of French department store group Printemps last year, and last year opened a Maria Luisa department within its Haussmann flagship.
She also has plans to launch an etail concept with www.thecorner.com, a site operated by etail giant Yoox.
Poumaillou said that independent retailers were no longer as crucial to small brands as they were when she launched the business in 1988. She has built up a cult global following thanks to her eye for spotting new design talent. She is known for buying into young designers at London Fashion Week in particular, stocking the likes of Marios Schwab and Christopher Kane.
Poumaillou said : “The evolution of the retail sector over the past 20 years has been colossal…The scene has changed radically since the advent of the internet and the opening up of department stores such as Printemps to more directional fashions.”
Poumaillou plans to develop her wholesale label, which has 30 stockists. She also plans to increase the number of in store events she is holding at the Maria Luisa department in Printemps.
“…when I see the efforts Printemps has made…I have total liberty and we’re giving them much more exposure,” she added
so sad to see one of the longest run and last remaining indie establishments closing its doors. thankfully,maria will still be in operation on the web at least.
Sadly, I never picked up a good vibe when visiting maria luisa on rue Cambon and am not surprised to see the second boutique go. It was always quiet - unlike colette and sometimes the mark ups were higher than in the label's own boutiques. That said I appreciate the fact that they had a range of lesser represented labels as well as Manolo Blahnik which isn't sold widely in Paris and am glad they remain as a presence in Printemps.
ML is a friend and I had a long chat with her earlier this month in Paris, she told me first hand about the news in person. Her point of view is:
ML: 'Multi brand store concept is no longer going to work in this part of the world. What was new in the last 10 years? Colette is over 10 years old. DSM is a CDG showcase and a family affair, other brands there are consignments, not handpicked by buyers. I think Paris doesn't need multi brand fashion boutiques like 20 years ago, that's why. Have you been to Merci? That will work from now on. A lifestyle concept store.'
Me: 'Yes, I went to Merci this morning; Colette has no different from eiffel tower anyway, always looks crowded, but people are buying entry prix point items like souvenir, it's such a tourist spot.'
ML: 'No doubt my shop is very heavy to carry, but that's not why I made this decision. Recession didn't really affect how the Parisians shop, as they'd never been big spenders on fashion anyway. The truth is, I have a much higher traffic to promote all these new designers at Printemps, you're talking about thousands of people everyday, and mine one is located at the prominent spot. I mean, the days to have a designer boutique on the street has gone, I can only say that in the case of Paris, but not in Asia. Fashion don;t need to travel to Paris to shop anymore. At Printemps, we have the same amount of business, so it doesn't really affect us. Plus, we're accessed to new customers at a rate that this little corner store can not achieve.
Also, both Yoox and ourselves are putting full effort on the online shop, it will have a facelift, Robin might even have a blog, I won't be surprised. As for other shops overseas, they're all doing great, especially the one in HK. Plus, I now have the Maria Luisa collection and I'm gonna put alot more time to it, to grow it bigger. Rue Cambon was our 1st life, Rue Rouget de L’Isle the 2nd, and we're going through our '3rd reincarnation' at Printemps, online and worldwide.'
From what I feel, she's even more with it and involved than ever, definitely has both hands full of work. Don't forget that she's the one to open a multi-brand boutique on rue Cambon, an old fashion house area over 20 years ago, it was an avant garde take. I believe in her vision as always, and trust that the decision is right and will be taking her to another level where she deserves worldwide.
Does this mean she'll be expanding the boutique at Printemps?
So many more people pass by the Printemps corner than the quiet Rue Cambon.
Her selections are fantastic!
Dunno if she's expandng at Printemps, what i know is, at Printemps, LV is taking where Celine used to be at the ground floor, and McQueen's location was taken by someone else after his death, therefore, ML was kind enough to lend a corner to both brands as consignment in her own ML area. I think that's very friendly. Also, I do think Maria plays a big important role on making Printemps hip and fashionable again, thus the big brand's interest in Printemps again, don't forget that Printemps is one of the key competitor of Bon Marche (LVMH owned) in Paris.
I think her selection is super cool, and each piece speaks for themselves on the rack, they are real strong designs; in between, she puts basics like Victoria Beckham jeans and Isabel Marant to balance them out. Simply fantastic!