Covering 34,500 square feet in the basement of its store on Paris’ boulevard Haussmann, this salon tempts customers with 150 brands, 75 of which are exclusive to Galeries Lafayette. Parisian design firm Agence Jouin Manku worked with the fashion retailer’s in-house design team to subdivide the expanse into five themed zones: fashion, contemporary, urban, luxury and top of the market, each with its own mood and design elements. (The retailer claims the department is the world’s largest dedicated footwear department.)
Company officials say the timing is perfect to tap into Europe’s $6-billion-dollar-footwear business. According to Galeries Lafayette, French women buy an average of six pairs of shoes each year, making them the largest consumers of shoes in Europe on an annual basis. And while 17 percent have 20 or more pair in their closet, the retailer hopes its new department gives them reason to find room for a few more.