Walter Steiger and L’Eclaireur

October 27, 2009By Paris UpdateShopping

On the Right Foot in New Right bank Shops

An example of some of the handcrafted stunners available at the new Walter Steiger boutique. Photo: Elizabeth Pantaleo

A well-known name in the glamour shoe business for over 30 years, Swiss-born Walter Steiger has just opened a super-chic bespoke shoestore (33 Avenue Matignon, 75008 Paris) for men and women right across the street from his eponymous boutique on the Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré. The shoes for women range from mega-platforms and stilettos to classic flats, while the elegant, lusciously polished shoes for men come in crocodile, suede or whatever skin the client desires. The shoes are handcrafted – or, more correctly, sculpted into works of art – by Monsieur Michel, who has worked for Givenchy and Saint Laurent, among others. Once the customer has chosen the model, his or her foot is traced and the shoe form chiseled, then the shoe is made, tried on by the customer and finished. Says Michel: “The real test is when you walk in the shoe, but if there is a problem, you can always come back for an adjustment.”

l’eclaireur boutique paris
The new L’Eclaireur boutique in the Marais.

Armand Hadida, owner of L’Eclaireur (40, rue de Sévigné, 75003 Paris) opened his first shop in 1980 in the basement of a gallery on the Champs Elysées. Since then, he and his wife, Martine, have established themselves in the Paris retail trade as visionaries who sniff out the zeitgeist of the shopping experience long before their peers. Their spacious new 450-square-meter emporium across from the Musée Carnavalet in the Marais brings art, poetry, video and fashion together under one roof. They sell clothing by off-the-beaten-track designers like Gareth Pugh, Ann Demeulmeester and Rick Owens, with Lanvin and Balenciaga mixed in for good measure. The merchandise is just one element in a James Bond-like setting with walls of flashing video screens that slide open to reveal enticing clothes at the flick of a skilled salesperson’s hand. Welcome to Paris of the 21st century!


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