• Leila Roker

Feature: Louvreuse

Paris’ 7th Arrondissement is home to attractions like the Eiffel Tower, the Musée de l’Armée, and Invalides, the district is no doubt a hub for many tourists. But on Rue Cler, right off of Rue Saint-Dominique, sits the boutique shop Louvreuse. The pastel yellow store may be easy to overlook if one doesn’t walk the street frequently, but once noticed, it causes the pedestrian to stop and stare. The window display is minimalist, but the bags are an unexpected surprise, with fun geometric bags in the form of pyramids and circles.

Louvreuse, founded by Victoire de Villiers, is a bag store inspired by Paris’ architecture. Cleverly situated in the 7th Arrondissement, Louvreuse targets tourists and Parisians alike that want to celebrate the architecture of Paris as an accessory on their bodies. Victoire de Villiers, who was a student of History and Art ESSEC, was inspired by the Louvre, which she says is the inspiration of her brand’s name. “It’s the biggest museum in the world, and I was architecturally inspired by the pyramid. It motivated me to recreate it with a twist in the matter of maroquinerie. That’s why we created the pyramid bag, which was the starting point for all the collections”.

It’s no wonder why de Villiers chose the Louvre, it’s quickly become one of the main tourist attractions amongst millennials. With the rise of social media and the immediate sharing of images, the “instagrammable '' city of Paris reached 89.4 million tourists in 2018. Many of its abundant amount of visitors opt to discover some of Paris’ most popular attractions, one of which being the Louvre. Paris’ Louvre added its now-famous pyramid, in 1989. While the structure created controversy at the time, the landmark has since attracted a new wave of enthusiasts in the form of millennials. Since the popularization of Instagram, and even Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s album music video, the Louvre reached a record 10.2 million visitors in 2018.

With this pyramid frenzy, making the Louvre the center point of this new brand is a smart move on de Villier’s part. Since Louvreuse’s open in 2017, Victoire de Villiers shared that the fashion house produces two collections per year. Their Paris store is their flagship, attracting predominantly tourists and students from the American University of Paris, but they also have thirty distributors worldwide, in Portugal, the US, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Portugal.

Despite their globally diverse locations, de Villiers noted the importance of e-commerce, “We’re more and more present online, most notably on Instagram. Instagram is where we sell a lot of our products, both in France and abroad.” de Villiers also noted that using influencers are an important part of press relations. Louvreuse adds an additional push during fashion week, so their products can be photographed in the hands of fashion show attendees.

The style of Louvreuse emulates the millennial aesthetic. While it’s a relatively new brand, it aims to come across as vintage, with the use of timeless materials like leather, crocodile and velvet, in the form of geometric shapes. It looks like something that could be new, or something pinched from your mom's closet. “We try to have a catalog with timeless products, so we stick to the same seven colors, and then every season we introduce three or four new colors, that may not be reproduced, which makes it a limited edition.”

Victoire de Villiers pointed out that her timeless designs allow her to target several demographics, “Our first customer base is the Parisian mother that’s around 35-45, the second is the tourist that wants to bring home a little piece of France. The third, and increasingly the most popular, are young women, that are typically our Instagram clients.”

To source her materials, the French designer imports domestically in France, as well as abroad in Italy. “France and Italy both have a strong expertise for maroquinerie, so we source our materials from either region before we assemble the designs at our atelier in Nantes. This close circuit guarantees us a certain quality and trackability. It also allows us to minimize our carbon footprint.”

What may be a benefit to Louvreuse is how young the company is. The French brand’s geometric and angular designs echo the en vogue trends for bags in fashion for the past two years. Brands like Cult Gaia, DeMillier, and Marge Sherwood have been paving the way for playfully structured bags that are used as statement pieces within street style. These bags have overrun third-party curation websites like Moda Operandi, Shopbop and Net-A-Porter. Bags like these, similarly to Louvreuse, retail at $250-$400 and target a client base that’s plugged into the fashion world, but may not be able to afford the most exclusive bags like Bottega Vanetta, Jacquemus, Fendi or Loewe.

In a world of constantly shifting social media trends, Louvreuse is doing what many brands these days shy away from: consistency. The company stays true to its identity and maintains a small store feel by only having one flagship store. The designs emulate the feeling of nostalgia and originality.

You can visit Louvreuse at 14 Rue Cler, 75007 Paris.


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