DFS celebrates La Samaritaine 150+1 anniversary with retail extravaganza

By Luke Barras-hill |

Paris’s famed La Samaritaine department store is entertaining visitors with two months of celebrations to mark its belated 150-year anniversary, courtesy of DFS Group.

As reported, the LVMH-owned travel retailer inaugurated its 20,000sq m footprint dubbed Paris Pont-Neuf by DFS in June in line with La Samaritaine’s much-anticipated reopening [click here for the full story and click here to view an image gallery].

La Samaritaine first opened in 1870 and is marking the 150th anniversary after a year-long delay caused by Covid-19.

DFS is paying tribute to the milestone with a calendar of events, gourmet exclusives, collaborations, pop-ups and performances from 2 September to 31 October [scroll below for video].

PRADA GLOW INSTALLATION

Benjamin Vuchot, DFS Group Chairman and CEO, said: “La Samaritaine has brought joy, excitement and discovery to Parisians for over 150 years, so it is fitting that we celebrate this wonderful store’s birthday with the same abundance that she has shared with us. We look forward to celebrating again when our customers around the world are able to visit Samaritaine in person.”

On 2 September, an unveiling of the department store’s windows began the festivities.

On the Rivoli side, the windows feature multi-coloured neon displays while new light installations as part of an exclusive collaboration with Prada are visible on the Pont Neuf side.

Once inside Paris Pont-Neuf by DFS, visitors will encounter the Prada Glow installation.

The exclusive and interactive experience depicts a three-dimensional trompe-l’oeil displaying views of the set from the Prada Fall/Winter 2021 show, illuminated by neon lights.

A video floor connected to a lantern inspired by the geometry of the Prada triangle rises up with its changing colours visible from all directions.

Meanwhile, a selection of exclusive items from the brand’s ready-to-wear, leather goods and women’s accessories ranges also feature throughout the installation.

The quirky Loulou Boutique will also boast iconic products from jewellery and fashion to bicycles and skateboards.

In a novel twist, shoppers will have the chance to earn rewards via a wheel of fortune spun each day.

A SWEET SOJOURN

Every weekend throughout the campaign, troupes of artists encapsulate the spirit of La Samaritaine’s famous advertisements of the past through burlesque acts from performers dressed as peacocks, town-criers, balloon-girls and majorettes.

Artist Elsa Muse has designed a towering cake modelled on an early animation device known as a zoetrope.

Troupes of artists embody the spirit of La Samaritaine’s famous historical advertisements, with burlesque acts from performers dressed as peacocks, town-criers, balloon-girls and majorettes.

As the cake turns, it tells the history of the store through sugar figurines representing its emblematic yellow shopping bags, spirited sales staff and the King Kong gorilla.

Atop of the cake are models of the store’s founders Ernest and Marie-Louise Cognacq-Jaÿ who first opened the store in 1870. Edible versions of the cake will be offered to customers each Saturday at 16:00.

The celebrations feature digitally, with art historian Margaux Brugvin taking over the store’s YouTube channel to highlight moments in its history and discuss its artistic elements with contemporary artist Antonin Hako.

In addition, Michelin-starred chefs, pâtissiers, mixologists, baristas and bakers have assembled to celebrate La Samaritaine’s 150+1 birthday.

Matthias Giroud from the Voyage restaurant-bar and Jérémy Del Val from Maison Dalloyau will both unveil an original box set of cocktails and ‘haute couture pastry’.

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