Adding another bow to its cultural quiver, Saint Laurent has opened a bookstore and record shop on the Left Bank of Paris.
Reflecting a decor similar to its newest and largest flagship in the world, which opened to the public last December at 123 Avenue des Champs-Élysées, the retail unit showcases hulking shelves and storage fixtures in marble and Donald Judd metal seating amid a raw, stripped-to-the-bones architecture.
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Located at 9 Rue de Grenelle, the store was previously dedicated to Saint Laurent fashions and leather goods. It quietly opened earlier this month.
Sparsely merchandised, it resembles a contemporary art gallery blended with a private office, many of the books displayed on picture rails. Rare books are laid out on a vintage Pierre Jeanneret desk, with white gloves required for handling the delicate pages.
The location, dubbed Saint Laurent Babylone, also stocks out-of-print record albums, magazines and rare books, all curated by Anthony Vaccarello, the house’s creative director.
The selection includes an array of new titles under the Saint Laurent Rive Droite Editions imprint, established in 2019 when the French house opened a new retail concept on the Rue Saint-Honoré in the former home of Colette.
New books have been created in collaboration with artists such as Jeanloup Sieff, Cai Guo-Qiang, Bruno Roels and Daidō Moriyama.
In addition, the location stocks books previously published in collaboration with Betty Catroux, Gray Sorrenti, Renato D’Agostin, Nick Turner, Sebastien Zanella, Henrik Purienne, P. Staff and Chronorama Redux.
Sprinkled among the books are Leica cameras, brass skull sculptures, and select YSL merch, including pens, cigarette lighters and a drinking cup.
Among the record albums up for grabs are Sade’s “Promise,” Kate Bush’s “Hounds of Love” and the debut studio album of electronic band Kraftwerk.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day are chocolates made in collaboration with pastry chef François Daubinet, including a minimalist hazelnut bar as black and glossy as tar.
Black-and-white photos by British artist Rose Finn-Kelcey, circa 1977, are for sale, along with ones by Juergen Teller, who is slated to do an in-store book-signing later this month as the store unfurls a program of cultural events, including readings and DJ sets.
Vaccarello keeps stretching Saint Laurent into new cultural realms, last year launching a full-fledged film production company and a slate of movies at the Cannes Film Festival. The Kering-owned brand has been steadily tightening its ties with different creative fields, including photography, art and design.
Saint Laurent noted the name Saint Laurent Babylone refers to the Rue Babylone, where the late founder Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé lived and amassed a massive art collection that netted 373.5 million euros at auction in 2009.
There are two Saint Laurent fashion boutiques within a short walk of the Rue de Grenelle location: at 175 Boulevard Saint-Germain, and No. 6 Place Saint-Sulpice.
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