This week, Lanvin will open its very first New York store at 815 Madison Avenue near 68th Street. To go with its many fancy clothes, like the $11,395 tan fox-fur jacket you’ll find hanging in a glass wardrobe, the store has many fancy homewares. These include a black fox-fur bench, a zebra-print rug, a mural of Jeanne-Marie Lanvin’s face on one wall, lots of mirrored surfaces, Art Deco chandeliers, and classy track lighting. The salespeople also won’t try to sell you anything, per Lanvin designer Alber Elbaz’s instructions.
Elbaz has a nontraditional sales philosophy. “In Paris I said [to the associates], ‘Please don’t sell,’” he recalled. “‘The only thing I would love you to do is help the women look beautiful. The moment they look beautiful, they will buy.’”
However, in order for them to buy, they might like to try on. But the new Lanvin store only has three changing rooms, which seems completely disproportionate to the number of fashion-loving women who salivate over Lanvin like the dinner rolls they haven’t eaten all bikini season.
When it was suggested that three dressing rooms may not be enough, Elbaz recalled saying, “I quite like it like this. It’s like a restaurant that is tight and you have to wait.”
Besides, customers can wait their turn on a nice fur bench, which is probably a pleasant experience compared to waiting for the shower stalls Uniqlo calls changing rooms, where salespeople might scold you for sitting on one of those big white clothes-holding cubes that are obviously meant for sitting!