In Paris, there are fashion boutiques „en masse“ but exquisite vintage boutiques like Didier Ludot are rare as four-leafed clover.
Didier Ludot is supposed to be the institution for vintage cloths in the fashion capital. It is a must-see attraction for fashion victims, especially for vintage lovers. The vintage king runs three shops which perfectly fit into the neighborhood of the palais royale. The boutiques are located next to the Louvre and it’s wonderful gardens the tuleries. Art and fashion go hand in hand. The main store is named after Didier Ludot, a living archive of the complete 20th century.
Every costume and fashion museum would be thrilled if they had a collection like Ludots’. Embellished, glittery evening gowns as well as furs and tweed jackets are part of his sales mix. Beene, Chanel, Balenciaga, Fath, Dior, and Schiaparelli are brands you find in his antiquarian shop. There is nearly nothing he doesn’t have in his product range: Balenciaga capes from the 4oth , New-Look costumes from Dior, gowns from Schiaparelli and even the classic tweed jackets from Chanel. 80 years of fashion history can be experienced on only 80sqm. The store interior lives the “less is more” philosophy. The cupboards and hangers are unpretentious and simple, except for the orange lamp shades. They are the only eye catcher in the store besides the cloths. They are supposed to be the focus of the attention. There is glamour everywhere, almost a sensory overload.
The shop owner has combined his vintage and haute couture love with his management skills. He established his boutique in 1975 very conscious about the location in the 1st arrondissement. The historic buildings of the Quartier stand for the typical Paris with its small but elegant boutiques where he exactly wants to be. “I am a huge collector of haute couture gowns and I love to look back at the times when fashion was more than just cloths”. The fashion industry has changed tremendously while he prefers to live in the last century. The fast fashion movement is contrary to what Didier prefers. H&M, Zara and all the big retailers copy everything they see on the runway in order to sell it to the mass. Massproduction is something that belongs to the present while Didier still loves the older pieces the designers only made once instead of a million times. High Fashion is usually not for the mass but everyone wants to wear it. The runway trends want to be followed at any cost. That’s where the big fashion chains come into the game. In Ludot’s fashion sense this is what ruins the fashion world.
His clients are international and mostly from the fashion industry. Rachel Zoe the well-known Hollywood stylist drops by every time she’s in Paris. She never leaves without searching for new accessories and gowns for her clients but also for herself. Vintage jewellery is her favorite, if she sees something special, she must have it. She is known for her huge jewellery collection with the rarest pieces you can imagine. She loves Didier’s taste in special pieces but seriously who doesn’t? The shop assistant proudly presents her brown crocodile Birkin bag that she bought at Didier’s 2nd shop next door ten years ago. Who wouldn’t love this classic? Every fashion lover would kill for this handbag. Even if you can’t afford the prices in Ludot’s boutique it is definitely worth a visit. If you are lucky you get to see some Hollywood stars shopping for red carpet events. Reese Witherspoon got herself a vintage Dior dress from Didier Ludot for the academy awards 2006.
Even if your are not attending these events you can find really unique pieces for a special evenings and daily occasions. The vintage accessories can be quite the catch if you find yourself something which matches and underlines your personality. Another must-have item is the perfect little black dress. Didier himself designs little black dresses under his own name “la petite robe noir” which is also the name of his 3rd shop in Paris. Besides his shops, he wrote a book about these timeless classics where he talks about the history and his passion for this dress. I am sure you will find yourself the best fitting black dress there is.
These three extravagant shops are an absolute Must-see in the french fashion capital. Who needs to see the Eiffel Tower the 10th time? Better visit the Louvre for cultural
input then you are in the neighborhood anyway for peeking into Didier’s shops and adding some fashion art to your cultural experience.
Thank you Didier for your lovely collection of great fashion history.