L’Atelier Lingerie ~ Empreinte
By Ali Cudby
Paris is called the shopping capital of the world for good reason. The stores along the Rue Saint-Honoré are pristine, with the quiet respect that’s more reminiscent of a museum than a place of commerce. Empreinte’s recent arrival, L’Atelier Lingerie, is no different. Every part of the experience is hushed and respectful, almost reverent. That’s by design. When Empreinte opened their Atelier last Spring, the driving branding image was an art gallery.
In the store, museum lighting is used to highlight the product itself, which is showcased in glass cutouts that resemble frames. I was lucky enough to visit the L’Atelier when I was in Paris for the Salon International de la Lingerie.
Upon arrival, what is immediately obvious is the visual impact of the store. Minimal merchandise displayed, but for maximum effect. What one does see is a desk, with a glass booth behind it. In the booth are women working with their heads down.
The fitting magic happens downstairs – the L’Atelier will not sell anyone lingerie unless they have been fitted by one of their staff. Once a size is determined, a rack containing every bra they stock in your size is wheeled into the room. And then you go to work, choosing the ideal lingerie for your body.
Once the selections are made, the fun begins, as L’Atelier has implemented a unique process for which the store is named. That glass booth I mentioned earlier? It is the actual Atelier (which translates as workshop) where those busy women are actually customizing your selections.
You can use an enormous iPhone to pull up an image of the bra and pants you’ve selected, then manipulate an interactive screen to try any number of embellishments to enhance and personalize your choices. Some of the embellishments are shown in the photo above, and the seamstress is actually working on customizing a bra. Beyond the embellishments, there’s the option to customize embroidery. Want your name sewn into the bra? Done. Eiffel Tower? Zodiac sign? Even Paris 2013? Also easily accomplished…in your preferred color.
Most customers even get to walk out of the store with their personalized goodies, which are sewn while they wait (and watch.)
Yes, there’s a reason that Paris is the shopping capital of the world…and Empreinte is doing their part to uphold that reputation. However, engaging customers in their own experience, personalizing it, and emphasizing consistent, first-rate fit are hallmarks of the Empreinte L’Atelier that can be translated into any boutique in persuit of excellence.