The art of shopping can be an immensely fulfilling pastime - especially when the shopping destination has a well-curated array of brands that sates your nuanced menswear desires. BEAUBIEN in Paris is one of those cool men's shops that allows you to lose yourself in its skillfully thought out selections. A dash of normcore, a touch of vintage, a sprinkling of sportswear and just the right mix of streetwear and workwear - you can find it all here. The store was opened last year by Julien Bouzereau, and he did a smashing job of cherry picking the finest American, Japanese & Danish brands to display in his boutique. We had a chat with him about the rhyme and reason behind BEAUBIEN. Read on ...
What was the main inspiration for starting your menswear boutique BEAUBIEN?
Just to bring hard to find labels to Paris, and sell my own selection of casual menswear and accessories.
What is the overriding philosophy or theme for selecting the different brands you choose to carry in your store?
I like American and Japanese labels (Battenwear, Dana Lee, orSlow) that are inspired by vintage sportswear and workwear. Then there are Danish brands (Libertine-Libertine, Soulland, Norse Projects) that have more contemporary references. The philosophy is to put together all those inspirations in a consistent mix of brands and products.
I don’t want the store to be too niche. So I would say that products you find at BEAUBIEN are basic and easy to mix-and-match, but not ordinary. Quality and price are key, and focus has to be on high-quality fabrics and great detailing. It’s also important that all the brands I’m working with have a strong identity. Authenticity is much appreciated too, which doesn’t necessarily mean a brand producing in the same old factory for 100 years, but just keeping it simple.
So how would you describe the BEAUBIEN customer - is he trendy, casual, a fan of streetwear?
The BEAUBIEN customer can either be a trendy person, or just a guy looking for timeless, quality clothing.
American and Japanese brands generally appeal to mature customers in their 30s/40s. Danish labels are blurring the lines between streetwear, workwear and sportswear, and they are more accessible. In the merchandise assortment, there are both fashionable items (like printed shirts or logo sweatshirts) and basic pieces (like oxford shirts or pocket tees).
Since you launched your store last year - what has been the overall response from shoppers? What are some of the brands that have performed the best? Also what are the most popular accessories (hats/bags etc) you carry?
I’ve had very good feedback from shoppers. They are happy to discover new brands and add a new store to their shopping map. They appreciate the assortment, especially the focus on nice fabrics and comfy clothing.
Norse Projects, Libertine-Libertine and orSlow are performing quite well. Regarding accessories, Il Bussetto cardholders, Timex watches and Ebbets Fields Flannels caps are selling great.
From the current selection you have in BEAUBIEN - what are your personal favorite pieces for Fall/Winter 2014-15?
I’m a big fan of outerwear, and this season the brands I carry did a really good job: the Northfield Parka by Battenwear, the Trucker Jacket by Maison Kitsuné, or the Nunk Classic Parka by Norse Projects are must-haves with their contemporary, yet vintage-inspired look.
Another favorite of mine is the Reach-up Sweatshirt from Battenwear: this winter, it comes with a new material that has an amazing vintage-like, comfy feeling. And also the Gitman Vintage shirts: perfect fit and great fabrics.
How about for next season - S/S 2015 -What brands are you excited about? Are you going to be adding new brands to your merchandise mix?
The idea is to keep improving the current merchandise mix. There is so much to do with the brands I’m already working with! So only a couple of new brands will be added.
How would you describe your own personal style - do you have a particular style uniform?
I’m happy with a basic pocket tee (better if a Double-Needle Tee from Dana Lee), a nice denim shirt (better if one from orSlow), a versatile parka (better if one from Battenwear), a good pair of jeans (better if from Levi’s or Kitsuné), and some Vans. This is quite a basic style, but most important for me are clean cuts & detailing, raw yet comfy fabrics, and subtle colors.
For guys looking to come to Paris to discover the culture and see new things - what are some restaurants, bars, hotels or areas you would recommend?
In Paris, there are more and more Brooklyn-style eateries, but there is a place I would recommend if you want to experience something really French. This is a restaurant called ''La Pointe du Grouin'' (near Gare du Nord). It is a mix of tapas culture and French food in a very friendly atmosphere, and at fair price. I won’t tell more, but they even have their own currency!
BEAUBIEN is located in an up-and-coming area that is worth a visit. Almost next door, you have more and more art galleries and indie stores, and a big foodie project work in progress. I also like the areas around Square Louvois (2e arrondissement) and rue Sainte-Marthe (10e arrondissement).
Paris has plenty of great museums, but if you’re looking for something off the beaten paths (and less touristy), La Maison Rouge, La Gaité Lyrique or Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris are good options.
Who would you say is your favorite men's style icon of all time?
I don’t really have style icon, but I have to say that I’m quite interested by the way American rappers dress. Not really direct inspirations for me, but it’s kind of fascinating to see them experimenting a lot, through details or overdressing.
In the next 5 years, what do you expect to be the future growth and progression of BEAUBIEN?
Make BEAUBIEN a successful, profitable, durable business. Keep improving the merchandise mix and the webstore. Develop specific content. Make BEAUBIEN a reference in the Paris retail scene and online. A lot of ideas to expand, but too early to think about them!
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