Establishing a shortlist of Paris boutiques is no simple task-- as a capital of fashion and design trends, Paris has too many notable boutiques and concept stores to comfortably count in one succinct page. That's why I've chosen to focus on the most coveted multibrand Paris boutiques-- concept stores that have prevailed through the fickle winds of fashion trends to become destinations and names in their own right.
While these concept shops are in no way compatible with tighter budgets, visiting during annual sales in Paris can allow you to treat yourself to a special piece you wouldn't otherwise be able to afford.
Colette on Rue St. Honoré isn't merely a destination for fashion victims-- it's a spot where the style-conscious flock to see the latest arrivals in design, electronics, beauty, and even books and DVDs. And let's not forget the designer clothes (established and up-and-coming creators share the floor here). The basement-level "water bar" offers cave-like conditions to retreat from the muggy streets during the summer, albeit with somewhat overpriced food and drink.
Situated in the heart of the trendy Rue Montorgueil neighborhood in the center of the city, Kiliwatch is a local temple for the discerning vintage fashion fan. This is far from being a bargain bin, but you can often find gorgeous designer pieces here for relatively reasonable prices-- especially during the "soldes" in the summer and winter. Kiliwatch also offers some new clothing, and has an onsite fashion bookshop.
Address: 64 rue Tiquetonne, 2nd arrondissement
Metro: Etienne Marcel or Sentier
Housed in a sunny loft in the ultratrendy Oberkampf neighborhood, Merci is one of the few designer boutiques in the city to cultivate a cozy atmosphere-- couches, reading areas and all. Nonetheless, it still manages to come off as avant-garde. From classics like Yves Saint Laurent to creations from young local designers, Merci offers a selection that will sate both the religiously fashionable and the occasional dabbler.
4. Suite 114
This relative newcomer to the Paris concept boutique scene is degrees less pretentious than Colette, but offers the same attention to promising new designers and fresh ideas in fashion. Price tags are too steep for most of us, but going here for a little inspiration can still be worth the trek to a quiet corner of west Paris, just around the corner from the legendary Bon Marché department store.
First launched in the early 80's as a men's-only concept store on the Champs-Elysees, L'Eclaireur now has several locations around the city and is the brainchild of fashionista couple Martine and Armand Hadida. One of the boutiques is housed in the former stables of a private manor, in a perfectly hidden spot near the Place des Victoires. While L'Eclaireur is specialized in men's creations, some locations also carry women's clothing, in addition to home design and objets d'art.