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Espace Créateurs at Forum des Halles

Artifice writing for VINGT Paris

Pedro WilB One way for young designers to gather together with a mass audience is to use commercial space left empty by retailers and create a boutique experience. Marie Raflin, the mastermind behind Espace Créateurs,(in the inglorious FORUM DES HALLES has done just that to lure people in from the surrounding shops. Even a unique concept store, just for children, is there to tempt harried mums who are tired of H&M.

I took a walk through their eight design spaces and was glad to see a lot of variety. There is something for everyone, with the boutiques arranged by designer and grouped in a stylistic sort of way, which works well to begin with. But be prepared, it is not for the fashion faint of heart: these are new, young designers who have a vision you may not have seen before. The boutiques themselves reminded me of going to a sample sale - if you’re not an experienced shopper, this will be challenging for you. 

Not all of it works, but some of the labels were standouts: 

ABYSS, an interesting, edgy line of clothes, is a great way for those of you who like Yoji Yamamanto, early KENZO, or Costume National to experience that at a fraction of the price. Fabrics and cuts are unusual and not for the figure obsessed. Comfort and style is more important than the show. 

Another line that was interesting was MOLOKO, with organic, Fall friendly fashion. For a boho look you could mix and match your own closet with beautiful knits, linens, wools and lovely rich colors.  

All of the boutiques had “fin du saison” promotion so you can find some good buys. Amongst all of this whimsy and fun there was one serious designer who deserves more attention on the Paris scene. Pedro-Williams Borquez had clothes that were mouth watering: blouses cut just so, dresses made of banded bodices with chiffon skirts - and these were red carpet ready for any Hollywood actress or French film star. 

For us regular folk, he had fantastic skirts and blouses for work, separates and jackets that were cut so beautifully, and I think that he's a true discovery here. I hope that they continue to bring in new faces because that’s the fun of the Espace Createurs: discovering something new on the Paris fashion scene whenever we visit.

Forum des Halles, Espace Créateurs, Niveau -1 porte Berger plan. 8 shops/boutique spaces in the basement of the Forum des Halles. Map.

Photos: Top, Pedro-William Borques; Centre, Abyss; Bottom left & right, Moloko. All from http://www.myspace.com/espacecreateurs, click for more photos.

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