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Paris indie Maria Luisa to close

Maria Luisa, the iconic French designer independent, is to shut up shop in Paris to focus on trading in department stores and online, claiming they are “100 times” more powerful routes to market than destination boutiques.

According to reports, Maria Luisa, which the global fashion industry has looked to for buying and retail inspiration for the last 22 years, will close its shop in Rue Rouget de L’Isle in August.

Owner Maria Luisa Poumaillou was appointed fashion editor of French department store group Printemps last year, and last year opened a Maria Luisa department within its Haussmann flagship.

She also has plans to launch an etail concept with www.thecorner.com, a site operated by etail giant Yoox.

Poumaillou said that independent retailers were no longer as crucial to small brands as they were when she launched the business in 1988. She has built up a cult global following thanks to her eye for spotting new design talent. She is known for buying into young designers at London Fashion Week in particular, stocking the likes of Marios Schwab and Christopher Kane.

Poumaillou said : “The evolution of the retail sector over the past 20 years has been colossal…The scene has changed radically since the advent of the internet and the opening up of department stores such as Printemps to more directional fashions.”

Poumaillou plans to develop her wholesale label, which has 30 stockists. She also plans to increase the number of in store events she is holding at the Maria Luisa department in Printemps.

“…when I see the efforts Printemps has made…I have total liberty and we’re giving them much more exposure,” she added

Join the debate - are department stores and the internet really better routes to market than independent boutiques? Post your comments below.

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