Flea market scavengers don’t typically expect to see branded efforts at the famed Saint Ouen market in Paris. That is unless we’re talking about vintage Chanel or Yves Saint Laurent from 30 years ago. So it comes as somewhat of a surprise that two known names – furniture brand Habitat 1964 and fashion mecca L’Eclaireur – have opened up outposts at Les Puces, nearby the Paul Bert, Serpette and Biron markets.
Called the “Vintage Village” project, Habitat initiated the concept in celebration of their 50th anniversary and opened up in June. Although it’s new, the offerings on hand feature plenty of retro finds, with a focus on iconic Habitat furniture and accessories from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. Set to a sprawling 400 meters (or 4300 square feet), everything from living room furniture to rugs and lighting is on hand.
Premier Parisian concept store destination L’Eclaireur also made its debut in Vintage Village last month, catering to the fashion set. Unlike Habitat which feels ultimately retro, L’Eclaireur stays true to their strong design aesthetic with an open and modern space that feels more like a boutique or gallery. A presentation of L’Eclaireur’s “contemporary archives” features a well-edited selection of items that were found in the store from the 80s to the 2000s, with brands like Balenciaga, Anne Demeulmeester and Martin Margiela. Limited edition furniture by designer Vincenzo de Cotiis was displayed for the opening.
Adding another dimension to Vintage Village, Mademoiselle Steinitz, of the Steinitz international antiques dealers, offers a more artistic approach. While I never heard of Mademoiselle Steinitz prior to my visit, I would have to say that I was most impressed with their rather well curated selection of fine antiques, contemporary art, photography and high end vintage. Compared to Habitat which was full of product (and ultimately approachable) to L’Eclaireur with less product and more ambiance, Mademoiselle Steinitz achieved a balance that felt equally modern and vintage.
I imagine that established vintage dealers were as thrilled about brand names coming to the flea market as communities that see the construction of their first Walmart. However, with 3 select outposts in Vintage Village, and each one done tastefully to a different vision, I think it was well executed. What’s also important is that both Habitat and L’Eclaireur have been established for over 30 years, therefore having lived through several decades of design which we now call vintage. Presence at the flea market will surely cultivate additional brand awareness and recognition. As for the actual sales amongst the stores at Vintage Village, time will tell.
Vintage Village (including Habitat, L’Eclaireur, Mademoiselle Steinitz)
Open weekends and public holidays 10am – 6pm **Closed for summer holiday August 12th – 30th**
77-81 rue des Rosiers
Speaking of new and branded (and if you happen to be hungry) be sure to check out the restaurant Ma Cocotte, designed by Philippe Starck located in the nearby Serpette-Paul Bert market. The industrial space opened several months ago and has already become a popular spot (you may have to wait as they do not accept reservations for Saturday or Sunday lunch). As expected, the interior impresses with tile flooring and homey bookshelves, living room settings and a terrace upstairs.
Weekdays 12pm – 3pm and 7pm – 11pm, Weekends 9am – 11pm
106 rue des Rosiers