In a city known for its gratuitous beauty, Paris shines especially bright during the holidays. You can see staggering displays of elegance and creativity throughout the French capital. Amongst the most spectacular comes from Galeries Lafayette’s Paris Haussmann’s store. This year’s installation is the brainchild of the wunderkind designer Charles de Vilmorin. He wears the the hat of dreamer, stylist, illustrator, artist and child at heart. Aptly Vilmorin was born on Christmas day. His vision is that of child’s play in every way. From the wondrous tree under the famed dome, the fantasy filled windows, accompanying capsule collections, brand collaborations and more.

left: The Christmas tree from Galeries Lafayette pictured from the ground up under the cupola at night with a giant dandy Santa Claus dressed in red; right a view of the top of the tree from the walk way at the top floor of Galeries Lafayette.

The pièce de resistance is the gigantic tree under the cupola, inspired by holidays Vilmorin spent with his grandparents. The power went out on Christmas Eve one year. In response Vilmorin’s uncle came up with a display so bright it filled the entire room. This year’s tree is a play on light and transparency with Tim Burtonesque figures floating around the tree. All this complemented by the fantasy filled window displays. There is also a related capsule collection and other festive items. The decorations tell the story of a girl, her magic paint brush and the colorful characters they meet on their adventures

What goes into bringing the display to life? Benoît Laumaillé is in charge of the Christmas production at Galeries Lafayette. He explained it takes more than a year from conception to realization.

The installation of Galerie Lafayette's Christmas Tree in progress.
The installation of Galerie Lafayette’s Christmas tree in progress.

Laumaillé tells us this season’s collaboration is the first time the legendary store worked with a fashion designer like Charles de Vilmorin. The collaboration infuses the traditional Christmas gatherings with his rich personality and a more fashion focused universe. The inspirations come from a variety of sources: Vilmorin’s own family, comic opera, Sevilla, Jean Cocteau and more. Above all, joy and happiness are the focus.

The windows are, as expected, iconic. They are much like different chapters in a book, with strong graphics and colors. Charles de Vilmorin also brings to life colorful elves and other unique characters inspired by the store’s legendary dome. Don’t miss the very fashionable dandy Santa Claus.

In keeping with its promotion of French savoir-faire and culture, the decorations at Galeries Lafayette promote local artists and artisans. Sculptors, tailors, painters and the puppet animator Sylvain Duclou help bring the decorations to life. All the ornaments are produced locally, in Saint Maur and the windows in partnership with Atelier Bournillat.

One of the ornaments - a colorful mask remincent of comic opera, from Galeries Lafayettes Christmas Display.

No detail was spared. Laumaillé’s teams even worked for 4 months with a music designer to complete the ‘universe’. There is also an exclusive range of products designed for the Galeries Lafayette private label by Charles de Vilmorin, collaborations with the designer and other brands on everything ranging from fashion, food, beauty, and decoration.

Confiture by Pierre Marcolini made in collaboration with Charles de Vilmorin for Christmas at Galeries Lafayette.

The unveiling of the windows and the Christmas tree was featured in a showcase featuring Charles de Vilmorin himself and a concert by Juliette Armanet.

The fashion designer Charles de Vilmorin and singer Juliet Armanet pictured in front of Galeries Lafayette Paris Hausmann's Christmas window display.
Charles de Vilmorin and Juliette Armanet

Catch this year’s display until December 31 and make sure to claim your free in-store gift, exclusively for HIP Paris readers at the Galeries Lafayette, Paris Haussmann store.

Written by HIP Paris in collaboration with Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann. All photos courtesy of Galeries Lafayette except where indicated. Looking to travel? Check out Plum Guide and our Marketplace for fabulous vacation rentals in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long or short term, or buy in France? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates or click here. Looking to bring France home to you or to learn online or in person? Check out our marketplace shop and experiences.


HiP Paris

HiP Paris is a lifestyle website about everything Paris and beyond. We enlighten and entertain our community, and share tips and recommendations. We believe in respect for French culture, timeless luxury, being comfortable in your skin, and the simple beauty of French life. Started in 2008, HIP Paris has evolved into a hub for expats and Francophiles. We have been featured in the New York Times, Business Insider, Bloomberg, Buzzfeed, Eater, Bon Appetit, Refinery29 and many other publications.

One Comment

  1. this store is not just a place to shop, it is a place to look at, it is a place of wonderment.
    the pictures you are sharing with us are fantastic.
    the atmosphere in the store must be great. it was when my wife and I visited it in December 1976 for the first time and many times after that. my wife was from Australia and it was her first trip to France. and she has never forgotten the feelings of excitement to see the place she had read about before.
    thank you for sharing the moment with us.

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