Wooyoungmi: 10 Adores
We were recently told a story by an older French gentleman about a previous life he’d lived as a rent boy in Paris during the 1970s. A time when he and his fellow rent boys would take chaperones in the form of little chicks that had been dyed luminous shades of orange, yellow and blue along on their so-called “dates”.
Talking of someone who sounds so imaginary, but is not – someone who sounds dreamed up as a member of Cruella De Vil’s coterie, even – is probably not the best way to sell you Wooyoungmi’s amazing new store in Paris’s Haut Marais. But what we mean to say is that, for us personally, Paris will always be a city of unimaginable romance. Romance in Paris doesn’t always come in obvious Eiffel-Tower-in-the-distance form of course, as those experiencing scary flashes of Marlon Brando’s buttered fingers when we say this will know all too well. Maybe we haven’t experienced enough of the real stuff, but for us romance can often simply mean something beautiful, something far-fetched. Our most recent experience of it in the City of Light was both of those things, occurring on Wooyoungmi’s new 266-square-metre shop floor at 5 Rue Saint Claude. Not far-fetched as in relations with a mannequin – that would be 1980s romcom daft – but at the risk of sounding like that pop tart of a certain age determined to peddle “art book” smut, we are in fact talking of the all-by-myself, self-loving variety. Meeting the eyes of our own well-polished reflection just across the way, it began in the robust indigo and turquoise denims fresh from the SS14 rails. Yes, we are the annoying sort who likes to parade their changing-room dabbling for all sales assistants and innocent bystanders to see. Yes, it’s sort of like a fashion show, except everyone’s encouraged (okay, made) to express their opinions aloud, instead of thumb hammering them into their smartphones. “Does our bum look big in this?” It had better – we’ve been hitting that Step Master like a mutha to get butts bubble enough to show off Wooyoungmi’s sharply cut trollies. Working the interior devised by Abstrakt Architecture in several different looks, we’re almost as taken by the concept as we are by ourselves. It’s invested with the feel of a gallery space, with its frames, vitrines and shiny marble plinths that mirror the art campaigns the brand is known for, and if money were no object, we’d buy the whole thing up. Existing features have been utilised to create a retail space that feels right at home in the 3rd arrondissement, thus leaving us feeling right at home there, too. A good choice for our first marital home maybe? Not all romances end happily: once those baby chickens turned into the full-size variety they were unceremoniously abandoned with nothing but fag ends for feed. But our Wooyoungmi story? If someone would be so kind as to give us the Rue Saint Claude keys, well, it could easily be a full-on case of happily ever after.
By Vincent Levy