Now I have the energy to type I can tell you all about the mini exhibition!
A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by Marie France Cohen, who, with her husband Bernard set up the chic childrens clothing company Bon Point (I love the outfits...who wouldn't want to dress like this?!). When they sold Bon Point they decided why leave the money sitting in a bank account when it could be put to good use? And so Merci was brought about.
Situated in an old warehouse in the fashionable Marais district, Merci is a shop that was “born of a dream” and very much a shop with a conscience. Marie France explained to me how much has been made in the press about it being a shop for charity but she saw it more as a shop with an aim to help others, not one of charity. The products sold there are high end fashion, jewellery and homewares as well as other lovely little bits and pieces but all of the proceeds go towards helping young women in Madagascar. "I know retail, I can see like everybody else that everything is too expensive, that it's all window-dressing," said Marie-France Cohen. "We want to offer goods that are as cheap as possible but as attractive as possible."
Listening to Marie France speak was truly inspirational, she so strongly believes in helping others without the idea of charity being pushed forwards and emphasised to shoppers that you can't help but admire her ambition. And I have never met someone with such a beautiful eye for detail, which was clear from her beautiful home (it was amazing....) the shop design and the wide array of products there.
The decor is very much the undecorated look and utilitarian chic and whilst it may look inexpensive to produce I really think it requires a very astute eye!
Merci is such an amazing and inspiring shop...I suppose you could call it a concept store but without the pretention. It's so welcoming and lovely in there that you could spend a good part of the day drifting from the clothes (wonderful French chic...YSL, APC, Isabel Marant etc)
to the vintage bookshop and cake at the cafe next to it
to the quirky and vintage homeware and down to the basement for a spot of light lunch!
Also to be found there is a perume bar, little haberdashery department and a beautiful flower shop.
I had my own little space where the little birds were being sold as prints and postcards and displayed on wallpapered tables avec Laduree macrons and Louboutin shoes to match the drawings!
I have to extend my greatest thanks to Marie France and her wonderful staff for the work they did in making it all look so beautiful and I encourage everyone to go and have a look at the shop (and indulge in some very very tasty cake!)
For more about Merci, there's a great interview here in French and some articles here and here, as well as blog posts over at Paris Breakfasts and
Merci, 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, Paris 75003. Tel: 01.42.77.00.33.