When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

Trendy Clothing Giants Rebrand Paris’ Champs-Élysées

Banana Republic is sparing no expense for Thursday’s grand opening along the Champs-Élysées, where big-name apparel companies now occupy close to 50% of the highly coveted real estate. That’s in part because few others can afford the chic avenue’s sky hig

Window shopping along the Champs-Élysées in Paris
Window shopping along the Champs-Élysées in Paris
Caroline Sallé

PARIS- The black and white marble floor, Art Deco furniture, retro escalator and a series of neo-classical arcades evoke the grand department stores of the last century. For today's opening of its first boutique in France, at No. 22 on the prestigious Champs-Élysées, Banana Republic has spared no expense. The upscale American clothing brand, owned by Gap, even had a barge bring over a fleet of authentic New York taxis for the inauguration. Banana Republic, however, is not the first company to play this little game.

In October 2010, Swedish clothing giant H&M invested 50 million euros to install a 2,800-square-meter flagship on the famous Parisian avenue. Last May, Abercrombie & Fitch's inauguration was a bona fide event, marked by 101 shirt-free male models in front of their first French location, at 23 Champs-Élysées. More recently, at the end of November, Marks & Spencer returned to the prestigious strip, after a 10-year absence. The line to get into the store at the inauguration was several hundred meters long.

The world's fashion showcase, the Champs-Élysées? The high-end address, where some 100 million visitors stroll every year, is coveted by most clothing giants. "For the international fashion brands, it is the new strategic address in Paris, like the Grand Boulevards was 10 years ago," says Marc Bolland, the head of Marks & Spencer.

Exploding rents

Rumors are circulating about the arrival of Aigle and Levi's in February, and the likely arrival of Forever 21, The Kooples Sport or even a third Zara store. "We're on our way to having about 50% of the property be occupied by clothing brands," says Phillippe Vincent, founder and president of the consulting firm Clipperton Development. Five years ago, it was only 40%. If it's not a fashion invasion, it certainly resembles one. And nothing, not even the explosion of rental prices, seems to be able to stop it.

According to a study published in September by the International Real Estate company Cushman & Wakefield, the Parisian avenue once again became the most expensive commercial artery in Europe, with an average rental price of 7,376 euros per square meter. It is the fifth in the world. Vincent says it's worth it cent. "The brands gain credibility and visibility, as well as revenue."

Given that the rents are so high, "only the big luxury fashion brands can pay for the Champs," complains Lyne Cohen-Solal, an assistant to the Mayor's office in Paris in charge of commerce and artisans. "But the area's charm is based on diversity. A mixture of luxury, culture and activities. At this rate, it could end up like Oxford Street in London. Uniformity on the Champs-Élysées would mean the end to the most beautiful avenue in the world," Cohen-Solal worries.

Read the original story in French

Photo - zoetnet

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.


How Brazil's Evangelical Surge Threatens Survival Of Native Afro-Brazilian Faith

Followers of the Afro-Brazilian Umbanda religion in four traditional communities in the country’s northeast are resisting pressure to convert to evangelical Christianity.

image of Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Agencia Publica
Géssica Amorim

Among a host of images of saints and Afro-Brazilian divinities known as orixás, Abel José, 42, an Umbanda priest, lights some candles, picks up his protective beads and adjusts the straw hat that sits atop his head. He is preparing to treat four people from neighboring villages who have come to his house in search of spiritual help and treatment for health ailments.

The meeting takes place discreetly, in a small room that has been built in the back of the garage of his house. Abel lives in the quilombo of Sítio Bredos, home to 135 families. The community, located in the municipality of Betânia of Brazil’s northeastern state of Pernambuco, is one of the municipality’s four remaining communities that have been certified as quilombos, the word used to refer to communities formed in the colonial era by enslaved Africans and/or their descendents.

In these villages there are almost no residents who still follow traditional Afro-Brazilian religions. Abel, Seu Joaquim Firmo and Dona Maura Maria da Silva are the sole remaining followers of Umbanda in the communities in which they live. A wave of evangelical missionary activity has taken hold of Betânia’s quilombos ever since the first evangelical church belonging to the Assembleia de Deus group was built in the quilombo of Bredos around 20 years ago. Since then, other evangelical, pentecostal, and neo-pentecostal churches and congregations have established themselves in the area. Today there are now nine temples spread among the four communities, home to roughly 900 families.

The temples belong to the Assembleia de Deus, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the World Church of God's Power, the latter of which has over 6,000 temples spread across Brazil and was founded by the apostle and televangelist Valdemiro Santiago, who became infamous during the pandemic for trying to sell beans that he had blessed as a Covid-19 cure. Assembleia de Deus alone, who are the largest pentecostal denomination in the world, have built five churches in Betânia’s quilombos.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest