Just the other day, a friend and I set out to do some casual shopping in Paris on the rue de Marseille in the 10th Arrondissement (also a great street for stock shopping at year-round high-fashion outlets). As we strolled down the street, my eye was drawn to a sleek store with its name written elegantly in all caps: Centre Commercial. We decided to pop in to have a look but realized this wasn’t just a clothing boutique.
Inside, there seemed to be a bit of all things art and fashion. Cofounders of the popular shoe brand Veja created Centre Commercial with the intent to slow down the increasingly overwhelming Parisian shopping scene. As its website states, “Centre Commercial is a space infused by varied influences.” It aims to combine “fashion with social commitment and artistic projects with environmental concerns. . . . It is a collective space, uniting local, social and environmental initiatives.”
As you enter the concept store, delicately hung racks of clothing line opposite ends of the room, with women’s on one side and men’s on the other. Styles have a more artistic flair, but nothing too out there. There’s a nice juxtaposition between classic simplicity and Brooklyn style. Centre Commercial strays from the same old designers and instead features labels made in France, Great Britain and Denmark, so it’s a good stop if you want to expand the brand names featured in your wardrobe. Here you will find a bit of everything you would want for day-to-day wear: tops, jeans, shorts, dresses, etc.
The menswear follows the same trend—classic items with just enough edge—so Centre Commercial is great if you’re looking to revamp the wardrobe of a man in need. It’s also a great place to stop into after you’ve dragged your man on an endless day of shopping. He can do a bit of browsing for himself and check out the trendy art and music located throughout the space.
Toward the back end of the store is a separate area designated for shoes. Purposefully lined throughout the space, several different brands and styles of footwear are offered. Centre Commercial definitely boasts a fun and exciting collection of shoes. Each style is offered in several bold colors, ranging from the brightest neon to everyday neutral.
In addition, the brands offered aren’t afraid to experiment with daring patterns. Several shoe styles featured Aztec, plaid or even checkered prints. Women will find an exciting variety of sandals, loafers, flats, sneakers, oxfords and boots—a shoe for every climate. Men can try on casual sneakers, loafers with a more formal look or even a stylized boat shoe.
Yet even more interesting was the art featured at the time we visited. Centre Commercial was displaying “Bricolage and Friends,” an exhibition by the five women of the British collective Bricolage Project. Their aim is to break away from the overused minimalism in design and focus on upcycling, reusing existing materials and making new creations. In this exhibition, the Bricolage Project was given carte blanche to invite fellow British artists to join in the showcase. So next time you’re in Paris, stop by Centre Commercial for an artful shopping experience.
Editor’s note: Would you like a guide to help you go shopping in Paris, someone who can get you into exclusive ateliers and shops that others don’t know about? Consult the folks at Fashion Week Tour for a tour centered around exactly what you are looking for.