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Printemps in the Fall

New Retail Concept Reinvigorates Famed Department Store

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Maria Luisa Poumaillou and Michele Hicks   
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Le Printemps rolled out a fashion-forward concept on Saturday night—namely, a shop-within-the-shop under the name and guidance of legendary eye Maria Luisa Poumaillou. Friends including Nicolas Ghesquière, Pierre Hardy, Rick Owens, Lazaro Hernandez, Roland Mouret, and Christopher Kane filed through her latest space, located where an elevator bank used to be on the second floor of the flagship building. "When they asked me to be their fashion forerunner, I thought, Why not?" Maria Luisa said. "I liked the idea of innovating in a time of crisis."

Her curated, multi-brand section is touted as a first for a mainstream department store, and in the role of house fashion editor, Poumaillou will have carte blanche to create "the best shopping experience possible." Commented Roland Mouret: "I think it's great to have an ambassador who thinks for the clients—there are no more boundaries. It's fantastic to see a department store go boutique." Not that the influence goes just one way: The new environment has already had an effect on Poumaillou's thinking. "I know designers well," she said. "But what is fascinating is to discover new markets, like the contemporary floor, bringing fashion down to reality. Just because it's cheap doesn't mean it has to be tacky!"

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