Rapide Fashion

Paris' H&M Flagship—Designed by Jean Nouvel, No Less—Bows on the Champs-Élysées


Jean Nouvel, Elisa Sednaoui, and Karl-Johan Persson   
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Securing a store on the Champs-Élysées is the fashion-world equivalent of receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. So H&M's new Paris flagship there is of appropriately grand proportions—and so, of course, was the fête the retailer threw last night to celebrate it. Designed by renowned French architect Jean Nouvel, whose wife, Catherine, told us that he lives in H&M's black T-shirts, the three-floor megastore is a futuristic fast-fashion paradise. Moving screens featuring H&M ambassador Elisa Sednaoui slide up and down between levels, and neon lights flicker over endless racks of minidresses, polka-dot sweaters, floppy felt hats, and, yes, abundant leopard-print looks.

"I think it's important to have a very strong identity, and H&M has that," mused Nouvel as he observed the hordes of excited shoppers storming the space. (The cash registers were open until 1 a.m.) "I wanted the store to embrace the spirit of the Champs-Élysées, and I think H&M Paris will have a very special character." Downstairs, Sednaoui twirled to DJ beats in an H&M black lace dress. "I dressed like a Sicilian widow from the fifties tonight," she joked over a glass of Champagne. The model-slash-actress gushed that she wants everything on the racks, especially the sunglasses. "I always lose my sunglasses, and H&M has the best shapes and great colors," she said. "But they're plastic, so you can break them or lose them and you don't feel guilty!"

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