French horsy-chic boutique opens at Harrod's

11th August 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 11 (AFP) - London department store Harrod's has invited a young Parisian saddle designer to set up shop within its storied walls, betting he can persuade famously pernickety English riders to buy French.

PARIS, Aug 11 (AFP) - London department store Harrod's has invited a young Parisian saddle designer to set up shop within its storied walls, betting he can persuade famously pernickety English riders to buy French.  

The "Pierre Guibert Paris Corner" boutique will open on August 20, the designer announced Wednesday in Paris.  

England has an equestrian sub-culture all its own, so it is something of a daring move.

The call from the head of Harrod's sports department came after a chance encounter in April between Guibert and a close collaborator of Harrod's owner, Egyptian billionaire Mohamed El-Fayed.   

"I was very proud to learn that Harrod's truly wanted to work with me," the 35-year-old artisan-qua-businessman told AFP.  

The 30-square-meter (320 square feet) boutique will be on the fifth floor in the sporting section, in the company of major international brands. Built with clean lines and fine woods, the store-within-a-store will feature Guibert's designs in saddles, riding crops, bridles and other equestrian leather accessories.   

The boutique cost EUR 100,000 to set up and will employ three sales persons.  

A passionate rider and a fan of horse racing, Guibert opened a store in Paris on prestigious Avenue Victor Hugo near the Arc de Triomphe in 1999. From the start, he aimed for an up-market clientele interested in style and technical precision. Tapping into a savoir faire in luxury leather goods "for which the French are very famous," Guibert aimed to revive a long tradition of fine saddlery.  

This will not be Guibert's first brush with high fashion. He recently collaborated with Chanel for the presentation of a collection.  

Situated in a posh district in Knightsbridge, Harrod's received a lot of unwelcome press last year due to declining profits. Fayed hired a Frenchman, Richard Simonin, in July 2003 to revive the store's flagging sales and to rejuvenate its image.

 

© AFP

 

Subject: French news

 

 

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