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Get Lost in the Holidays with Le Bon Marché

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Le Bon Marche has captured the essence of the holiday season for this year’s window display, creating a winter inspired visage, complete with sparkling snowflakes, magical floating trees and fun filled shopping bags.

Their festive display goes beyond the windows and is transported throughout the entire department store. The theme entitled, “It’s Snowing on Rive Gauche”  creates a testament to Le Bon Marché’s desire to combine emotion and amazement in one exceptional space and transforms the shopping experience into an art de Vivre.

MiND had the chance to talk with Art director of the Le Bon Marche, Frederic Bodenes to tell us more of what surprises the Parisian landmark has to offer and for some further behind the scenes, inspirational insight.

 

Tell us what is the concept for this year’s windows?

FREDERIC BODENES: This year the concept of the holiday display is  “It’s Snowing on Rive gauche”. The meaning behind the concept is that it’s only snowing at Le Bon Marché and not in other parts of Paris. The idea is that our customers will come for a full holiday experience at our department store – and one that is unique to Paris because it’s only snowing here!   There will be LOTS of snowflakes throughout the store with surprises & gifts.  Actually, shopping bags will be FULL of snow so that everyone leaves the store with the holiday spirit and good memories.

Le bon Marché

What makes this year’s holiday displays unique?

FREDERIC BODENES: Of course the snowflake concept transforms everything both inside & outside the building, creating a full experience instead of just one particular installation. Again, a full experience and theme is more unique than a singular display because it will more likely create a truly memorable visit.

 

Tell us where you found the inspiration for your creation.

FREDERIC BODENES: My inspiration often comes from contemporary art; museums; galleries; and art performance spaces. I try to keep & adapt to my own projects the most emotional aspects of what I’ve seen and experienced in these spaces.

I also always try to keep the full sensory experience of art & performance art alive in our department store installations, displays & events – so that our customers can appreciate & experience the same kind of total, memorable immersion in another experience and / or interpretation of the world that I take with me from such artistic productions.

 

Tell us about the unveiling of this year’s window.

FREDERIC BODENES: We won’t be unveiling the windows with any kind of special event per se. Still, we inform our customers of the hour and date through social media and give them the opportunity to arrive before we “unveil” the window display & store attractions for the year. Children are always a large part of the holiday attractions.

On a side note, every weekend in December we organise holiday-themed events in the store, including choruses, gospel choirs, magicians, dancers—events that turn the store into a holiday theatre!

From the moment we “unveil” the theme through the weekend events, families always feel welcome to partake in this festive holiday atmosphere!

Le bon Marché

Tell us about your favourite Holiday window display that you have worked on.

FREDERIC BODENES: My favourite holiday window was about ten years ago.  It was called  « The Gardens of Santa Clause ». I have amazing memories of those windows because we created incredible gardens from common objects and decoration and made them look real. It was the closest we ever came to a “real” art installation, and one full of life, poetic & humoristic.   It was very special to me.

 

What is the most radical window display you have created?

FREDERIC BODENES: That is a difficult question, perhaps the most radical thing we have ever done was to use the windows themselves as walls. Essentially, we hung the works of famous photographers in a way that changed the sense of the windows entirely.  The effect of hanging the photography this way created an exhibition for the street outside the store, for someone to see as s/he walked all around the building. Like this, the widows became the walls of an art gallery, inviting people outside to come inside to discover the art of Le Bon Marché…

So the most radical window?  No window would be my answer!

 

Have you collaborated with anyone this year? If so, who and why?

FREDERIC BODENES: In January , we collaborated with the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei . I asked him to « invade » or take over Le Bon Marché.  It was a big challenge for him but he wholeheartedly accepted my invitation to reach out to people who don’t typically go to museums or galleries; and began a conversation with them about art and artistic production.  Ultimately, it was a great, and memorable, success of art and commerce coming together in one special place.

After that, we also collaborated with the adorable and amazing Iris Apfel . With her, we created 10 outfits for ten places in Paris.  It was a beautiful fashion lesson!