Início Tech South Korean Brand System Opens First Flagship in Paris’ Marais

South Korean Brand System Opens First Flagship in Paris’ Marais


PARIS — South Korean brand System is setting down stakes in Paris with its first flagship in the Marais.

It’s all part of the brand’s big global ambitions.

System, which has been showing on the Paris Fashion Week calendar since 2017, is part of Handsome Corp., itself a subsidiary of Hyundai Group, the country’s third-largest conglomerate.

Those deep pockets give it the chops to back up its goals. Handsome closed its multibrand concept store Tom Greyhound last summer to completely revamp the prime Marais real estate for System’s international debut.

The parent company shuttered the Tom Greyhound store, which had served as a minor-league testing ground of sorts for many of Handsome’s 20-plus brands, said Jaewon Han, director of Handsome’s Paris office. Once the company understood how to grow brands abroad, they’re now putting System up to bat as they seek to move its homegrown Korean brands into the big leagues.

“Our Korean headquarters have been focusing on the domestic Korean business, but they need to globalize to elevate our brand value,” Han told WWD. He has just moved to Paris to oversee the expansion. “It’s our mission to globalize through the retail development in Paris. This is the next phase for Handsome.”

They’ve also signed with Galeries Lafayette to open a pop-up there in July, in the women’s building alongside Ganni, Joseph and Kim Kardashian’s Skims.

Expanding the brand’s wholesale business across Europe is also an important step, Han said. Presenting the brand in Paris has increased its reputation at home as well, and Han believes a strong retail presence across the continent will do the same.

System Paris Korean Hyundai

Inside the System flagship with a view on the men’s floor.

Midori / Courtesy System

At 5,000 square feet and spanning two floors, the minimalist, ultra-white interior is completed with stainless steel fixtures and cool blue crushed velvet seating, adding to the icy feel created by Berlin-based interior design studio Gonzales Hasse AAS.

Korean artist Kim Ah Ra created an abstract dancheong, a type of painting on traditional architecture, applied here in bright colors on wood frames, while French graffiti artist Tanc created a large piece for the front window and tagged back walls.

Furniture designer Hwang Hyung Shin created the installation pieces that complete the space.

Gonzales Hasse has its roots in the gallery world, and the expansive, open space is intended to be a blank slate and will host future art exhibits. System also wants to use it as a cultural hub to showcase Korean artists and events.

System offers men’s and women’s collections as well as accessories including bags and shoes. The Paris retail collections will have more size ranges, textures as well as a “trendier” vibe, Han said.

System works on the basis of a multi-designer studio with Heesoo Kim as creative director. Kim said he “took a stronger lead” this season to make the collection “more connected and aligned, but also commercial.”

“Because this is a very critical moment for System, a step up,” he said.

The exterior of the System flagship, which will host various artists.

MIDORI

With the prime Marais real estate, they are hoping to hit a wide swathe of locals and tourists alike, familiarizing Parisian shoppers with the brand as well as Korean and Chinese tourists who come to town.

Despite only showing in Paris since 2017, System was launched 30 years ago. “It has a long history, and we need a jumping [off] point. This is the hour, because it’s been 30 years, and we need to change it,” said Han.

Other brands under the Handsome umbrella include Time, which also shows during Paris Fashion Week, and SJSJ, as well as accessories brands Decke and Rouge & Lounge.

“Our parent company, Handsome, has huge domestic brands in Korea. We will launch them step-by-step, System, then Time, then others,” Han said.

Based on this brand roadmap, they are planning a Time store in the Marais as the next step for that brand next year.

System Paris flagship Marais

A view on the women’s floor at the System flagship.

Midori / Courtesy System



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