Europe’s New Classic Department Stores
Published: March 2010
By Tina Isaac
Surprise! Europe’s classic department stores are reinventing
themselves for a new generation of cool.
There’s a youthquake afoot at these four shopping landmarks.
You could forgive Printemps if it had lost some of its fabled luster after 145 years. But thanks to a $100 million top-to-toe renovation, the famous stained-glass Art Nouveau cupola of the grande dame of les grands magasins is gleaming again, while inside, on the fifth floor, you’ll now find France’s largest selection of shoes. Best of all: avant-garde tastemaker Maria Luisa Poumaillou has been named Printemps’ first-ever fashion editor, and introduced a dedicated space for up-and-coming talents such as Scottish designer Christopher Kane. Not to be outpaced, Printemps’ 116-year-old neighbor and rival, Galeries Lafayette, is showcasing female designers—Vanessa Bruno and Isabel Marant among them—as well as sustainable labels, and also hosting contemporary art exhibitions.
While its name is forever associated with old-fashioned floral prints, Victorian-era stalwart Liberty is raising its own design profile with an infusion of emerging talent. This season, Milanese fashion brand 10 Corso Como commissioned artist Kris Ruhs to tap into Liberty’s textile archives for an edgy capsule collection of beachwear and accessories.
The century-old La Rinascente has unveiled a futuristic Design Supermarket with a whimsical collection of stylish tech toys, tableware, and more by the likes of Zaha Hadid and Ettore Sottsass—all displayed in a sleek underground space designed by Armani store architects Claudio Silvestrin and Guiliana Salmaso. Now that’s fashion-forward.