Enter Merci, a Paris-based concept store tucked away on boulevard Beaumarchais in the historic Haut-Marais district. This destination of cool completely transforms every three weeks, making it a revolving door for discovery.
Savor the unknown: Merci’s courtyard leads you into the store, but beyond those French doors, it feels like anything can happen.
During Paris Fashion Week, Jean-Luc Colonna, the store’s creative director, gave The Thread a personal tour of the space that captures every element of the Parisian attitude toward life and style.
THE THREAD: Merci’s involvement with the Pop-In @Nordstrom Shops marks its first collaboration with a U.S. retailer. How does French Fling complement the Merci vision?
JEAN-LUC COLONNA: First, I don’t know how to say no to Olivia Kim. [He laughs.] Also, we loved the idea for French Fling—to mix very high-end pieces with casual, cool ones. The whole balance of fashion and home lifestyle is very Parisian. In the home, women devote the same attention to buying a spoon as they do to buying a Balenciaga bag, and that’s a very Parisian way of shopping. We thought it would be nice in the Pop-In environment to bring in a bit of this Parisian attitude about home and lifestyle.
Meet the Merci mascot: a red ’68 Fiat that has been parked in front of the store since it opened in March of 2009. On a constant adventure, the Fiat is transformed every month.
Mix masters: You’ll find an outdoor herb garden, a florist, two cafés, an organic restaurant, a fountain of beauty, jewelry, furniture, menswear, and fashion brands—from Comme des Garçons to new labels like World—all cleverly curated together.
THE THREAD: Everything is about the attitude.
JEAN-LUC: Yes, Merci is a special company. The founder of the company is Marie-France Cohen of the Bonpoint family. She had this dream, after being in the luxury business for 35 years, that today, the new luxury is space. The new luxury is mixing things together. Doing this very seriously, but not pretending it’s the only solution. It’s one proposal. We don’t pretend; everything is about the attitude and mixing things. In this way, we are different from the fashion in France where the designer has one vision.
Pop-In: Merci ‘Corbeille à Revers’ Foil Coated Paper Bag
THE THREAD: Tell us about the concept for Merci.
JEAN-LUC: Merci has two floors for home and one floor for fashion, with a focus on the home lifestyle. The concept for Merci design, whether it is fashion or home, is what we call in French “l’une et l’autre” which means “the one and the other”—contemporary and vintage, casual and extravagance. The idea is to bring together a presentation of things and to show how you can mix items with style without being intimidating. That’s very important. For us, the main service we can do is to let people be free, to feel and buy, but to also have projection about how they could be in the place that they can ultimately make their own.
Read, drink, discover: There’s a homey atmosphere at Merci. It’s a place to meet friends that acts as a bridge between the chic and the streets. There are over 15,000 books stored in the corridor of the used bookstore/café.
Pop-In: Merci Washed Linen Queen Size Flat Sheet, Washed Linen Pillowcase and Washed Linen Queen Size Duvet Cover
THE THREAD: The Merci Merci line is very color-driven—wow!
JEAN-LUC: Yes, at Merci, we love color, we love linen. We have 18 colors of linen. With Olivia, we selected a season of colors for Nordstrom, and we even have same story here. First, you have to touch—you have to see all the colors—and then you must play with the colors, like a palette or a photographer. We love the idea that it doesn’t have to be precious to be very high quality.
Experience the Merci way of living—without any of the jet lag—via the Pop-In @Nordstrom Shop.
Photos by Ford Leland