Interview by Lorenzo Molina
Store images by Elodie Chapuis
Severine Lahyani’s interest in fashion was long born before September 2015, when her brainchild concept store Archive 18-20 opened its doors in Paris. Child of luxury fashion buyers, Lahyani brought her own menswear vision to life in 2010 with Ly Adams, a brand featuring wardrobe essentials for men often with an unexpected cut, color combo or fabric mix. Archive 18-20 serves not only as a window to the Ly Adams universe; it’s also a curiosity kingdom – ‘curiosity’ being a word that comes up often when talking to Lahyani. 400 square-meters where plants and industrial air conducts appear to coexist harmoniously, as well as clothes, art, books and a café/restaurant. Everything is bathed in the intense natural light that comes through the greenhouse-like skylight. “In this urban garden all aspects of 'art de vivre' are covered,” says Lahyani. She stocks Marni, Alexander Wang, Etudes Studio, Church's, Adidas Originals, Filling Pieces, APC Jeans, MSGM and Want les Essentiels, just to name a few.
What are the current bestselling brands and why do you think they are successful?
Marni and Études Studio but also emerging brand such as Avec ses Frères or Shinola. Brands are successful when they show a clear and strong identity.
I make my selections in showrooms or at tradeshows. Social media, too, can be very inspiring. I leave a lot of space for unexpected encounters and love at first sight as well.
Archive 18-20 offers way more than just fashion products: beauty, art, lifestyle gadgets, music… Can a fashion store survive nowadays without stocking these lifestyle products?
Luckily some still do! But I think that today, stores need to propose more than just clothes. Retail experience should be more personal and human, in order to mark a real difference as opposed to online shopping.
Who is your average consumer?
We built our selection as a wardrobe that covers different life moments. We have some fashion addicts who are searching for trendy silhouettes, but also men who are ready to be surprised by new propositions. Our lifestyle and art clientele is a mixed group of all sorts of ages. If I had to come up with one term that unites these people it would be curiosity.
What role does social media play for you?
We see it as an alternative and interactive playground. The store offers an unexpected space and many people who come to Archive 18-20 post photos of their visit. Instagram is of highest importance for Archive 18-20.
You’ll launch an e-shop soon. Why did you decide to take this step?
We are going to launch the e-shop next year. It is the virtual but natural extension of the store to present Archive 18-20’s philosophy to a wider audience.
18-20 rue des Archives,