Les Suites: discover the Paris boutique for haute glamour
Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.
When Eka Iukuridze visited Paris for the first time, she was instantly struck with Stendhal syndrome. “Everywhere I looked, I was just overwhelmed,” says the Ukrainian native who at the time was living in Barcelona and studying for a masters in film marketing and distribution. She was less impressed, however, by her Parisian luxury shopping experiences. “Banging my elbows on changing-room walls while wriggling into a designer dress? Not my idea of luxury.” But this didn’t stop her relocating to the French capital. “My dream was to create a boutique of luxe, calme et volupté, of haute fashion that couldn’t be found anywhere else,” says Iukuridze, whose own Paris apartment used to belong to Isabella Rossellini. “Fortunately, I’m a practical dreamer.”
The location she chose in 2013 is suitably grand: a listed 19th-century Haussmann townhouse ensconced in the golden triangle between avenues Champs-Elysées, George V and Montaigne. Inside, Italian marble lines the ground floor, the sweeping staircase is a monument historique and the three suites for which the store is named are cosseting private rooms. “Many of our clients are professional women with limited time to browse, so they can reserve a suite and we prepare items for them ahead of their visit,” says Iukuridze. “We’ll even make a WhatsApp preview for them.”
This is emphatically not the place to pick up a discreet trouser suit. Les Suites specialises in head-swivelling, ultra-feminine pieces. Glamorous gowns abound, from a long-sleeved emerald style with a gold metallic print by Lebanese designer Rabih Kayrouz (€3,510) to a Giambattista Valli Couture confection fusing a fitted bodice of hand-cut silk petals with a skirt of white and lilac layered tulle (€31,250).
More laidback are Osman’s multi-tiered black sequin trousers (€1,990) and Roksanda’s turquoise silk-organza maxi skirt (€6,300). Les Suites also champions new talent, such as Hong Kong-born Andy Ho and Korean label Tiger In The Rain, which remodels vintage pieces. A favourite of Iukuridze’s is fellow Ukrainian Ivan Frolov, whose signature non-restricting stretch corset is here concealed in black silk and pinstriped with crystals (€4,300).
Some of the 90-odd designers in Iukuridze’s portfolio create exclusive capsule collections for Les Suites; many will tailor their catwalk pieces to a client’s specific request and an in-house seamstress is on hand to make couture alterations. “Our clients are looking for exclusivity, so we carry a maximum of two dresses in the same style.” The same goes for accessories, such as Iradj Moini’s ruby, garnet, aventurine and crystal Bow necklace (€4,070), and Colombo’s cobalt-blue crocodile handbag embellished with a gold, turquoise and coral harlequin (€19,500).
“We want to provide an uplifting experience,” concludes Iukuridze. “Our clients can discover new designers and learn how a collection was made. Or just escape the craziness and be left alone with a glass of champagne for a few precious minutes.”