HomeShoppingClaire’s Opens First European Flagship In Paris, Designed With Nicola Formichetti

Claire’s Opens First European Flagship In Paris, Designed With Nicola Formichetti

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Nicola Formichetti, the Japanese-Italian designer known for his collaborations with Lady Gaga, has been the creative director in residence of Claire’s since November, and he’s been busy bringing his eclectic and playful touch to products and stores. Now, Formichetti and Claire’s have designed the brand’s first flagship store in Europe, in Paris.

The 1,200-square foot flagship occupies two floors at 48 rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine, one of the oldest streets in the City of Light. The future-forward store celebrated its opening on Monday as well as the launch of Mini V, with a fashion week event. Mini V is the newest member of the V editorial family and was produced for and by Gen Z in partnership with Claire’s and Formichetti.

The Saint Antoine flagship is designed for total brand immersion with experiences and social storytelling woven throughout the space. “We want our customers to be inspired – through our product, our content and our innovative creative partnerships – but most importantly through the shopping experience itself,” said Richard Flint, Claire’ president of Europe.

“It’s slightly bigger than most stores we have in Europe, probably more on par with the U.S. size stores, but we felt it was right to show the consumer the complete breadth of the Claire’s range, show the key categories and more importantly, give circulation space,” said Kristin Patrick, executive vice president and chief marketing officer. “We’re a multi-category store. We do everything from jewelry to hair to great licensed products. We do so many products that we felt like in a city like Paris, we wanted to show our full range.”

The store doesn’t have any proprietary products, but rather, an elevated shopping experience. “The products are the same ones we sell in other stores. There’s no unique products, it’s just a unique way that we see the consumer journey develop,” Patrick said. “You have the opportunity to both trade downstairs or go upstairs. The idea is we have a strong basis of elements that we could potentially transition to any store in the world, be it our own stores, which we have in 17 countries, or our franchise models where we trade in 23 countries outside of our own retail.”

Claire’s wanted the flagship design to be “magical and raise the bar for the brand,” Patrick said. The store has a modern aesthetic, highlighted by Claire’s signature purple hue. Formichetti designed an ear-shaped chandel-ear that celebrates the brand’s #EarPrint campaign, while two dedicated ear piercing studios showcase Claire’s industry-leading service and a content creation studio on the second floor invites consumers in to have fun with creativity.

For the flagship launch, Formichetti designed some “couture items” that are showcased on mannequins wearing jackets made from stuffed Claire’s animals, a shirt made from stuffed animals and headdresses. There’s big, giant Claire’s classic products blown up and featured throughout the store. They also serve as markers for the different departments in the flagship.

“Claire’s and I believe in individuality, and together we hope to send the younger generation on an enjoyable and fun journey of self-expression,” said Formichetti. “With the launch of Mini V, we have a unique opportunity to offer young consumers tools to unlock their personal style while also providing a space to explore deeper topics and a powerful platform to share their voices.”

“We have other flagships planned across Europe, but this is the first one,” said Flint. “Claire’s has been in Europe for a number of years and has one other store in Paris. With 260 stores in the U.K. and 230 in France, the brand is well-established, particularly in Paris and key cities.

The company opens about 200 stores a year globally. “In Europe, we continue to find opportunities,” Flint said. “In the last six months, we opened a store on Oxford Street in London and we opened stores in Italy – in Milan and Rome, and we’re going to open a store in Florence. So, we’re looking at the key cities.

“We see the same trends in the big developed markets, like the U.S. and U.K., with a strong ear piercing penetration and an amazing affinity for Gen Z and Alpha consumers, particularly getting stronger in the last few years,” said Flint. “We think there’s a real desire, particularly in our European markets, to be more inspirational and provide a greater experience for the consumers who’ve been loyal over the years.

“We wanted to really change the dial on how we show consumers the great proposition we have, whether it’s in jewelry or piercing or hair accessories and showing the great services we offer,” said Flint. “We felt Paris was the right place to start. We had a great real estate opportunity in a neighborhood that’s particularly relevant for Gen Z and Alpha consumers. We felt that while we had this opportunity, we’d start to test and learn and try to build future experiential propositions for the brand.”

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