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VM choice: Thom Browne's sale days at Paris pop-up


US fashion brand Thom Browne has a pop-up on the top of floor of Le Bon Marche in Paris. This temporary space in on the Left Bank is used for a host of events, but this must be one of the best examples of a pop-up for a guest designer.

The pop-up is within a large wooden-sided cube, reminiscent of a packing case. Half of the internal space is mirrored, with a glossy-painted floor. Neatly paired men’s shoes with mirror-edged soles fill the floor and are repeated ad infinitum in the mirrors.

Thom Browne is famous for its mirrored merchandise – sunglasses and shoes have both been mirrored in previous collections – and memorably theatrical fashion shows. These have involved venues including a velodrome, a building that resembled a classroom with a picket fence attached to the ceiling and a faux Japanese tea-house.

A description of the brand’s work is stenciled on the plywood wall, with its blind-hung, metal-framed, glass doors flung open wide to tempt customers.

The remaining half of the space has been paneled and with lit with vertical florescent tubes. Against these four super-shiny mirrored garment rails are placed: two for men’s wear on the left, two for women’s wear on the right.

Women’s wear usually sells more than men’s, and although Thom Browne is chiefly known as a menswear designer, the pop up is situated in the women’s store. Placing the women’s fixtures on the right is commensurate with this as most customers (the majority of whom are right-handed), will turn to the right after they enter a space.

A close-up of one of the lovely items in the collection: resting on a Thom Browne wooden hanger on the mirrored garment rail is a lace blouse with an inset whale-motif, so delicately constructed it looks almost impossible to sew.

The space includes two fitting rooms, constructed of metal-framed glass panels and again sheathed in metallic concertina blinds. The perfectly reflective floor in the sales section continues through the doorway adjoining the mirrored side of the pop up, with a trolley, some very striking glasses and a bottle of champagne awaiting high-rolling clients in the foreground.

The pop up showcases items from Thom Browne’s F/W 15 collection and items created especially for the store, including whale-motif sweaters, coin purses, and laptop holders.

A single sales assistant tends the area, seated at a comfortable business-like desk and cash terminal. A specially-designed range of whale motif coin purses is displayed under a secure glass cabinet.