“What makes us so popular is the whole experience that Galeries Lafayette offer. From a wide collection of international and local fashion and beauty brands to the reatailtainment that is part of the in-store experience, Galeries Lafayette Doha is much more than a department store. It is a unique shopping experience that we are glad to offer to the people of Qatar.”
Kevin Gerard Pender is the General Manager of Galeries Lafayette Doha (GLD), and his words perfectly sum up everything this iconic place-to-be has achieved over the past three years.
On March 26, 2019, GLD opened its doors and immediately won over the hearts of connoisseurs in Qatar, offering an unforgettable luxury retail experience, and a bubbly Parisian je-ne-sais-quoi. It was the first time a luxury fashion store of its kind had set-up base in Doha, and fashion lovers suddenly had access to the latest Parisian style right in the middle of the city. The launch was followed by a series of visits by international stars like fashion designer Victoria Beckham, actor Johnny Depp, beauty entrepreneur Anastasia Soare, designer Zoe Bradley and many more.
Guests at GLD immediately feel as if they are in Paris thanks to the styles and trends prevalent across the store, as well as through the design that embodies a perfect combination of form and function with warm golden colors and fascinating plasterwork – all naturally illuminated through the impressive stained-glass cupola, offering the vibes and essence of the city of creativity – Paris.
Two people are to thank for all this: the architects. Bruno Moinard and Claire Betaille have created a space where guests come not only come to shop or dine, but to actually engage with the environment, throughout the15,000 sqm of retail space. And once inside this architectural jewel, fashion lovers are spoiled for choice, in 2022 more than ever. With 400 brands in store, Galeries Lafayette Doha was designed to be an experience in its own right, continuously trying to showcase the latest global and regional trends.
“The arrival of Galeries Lafayette to Doha was like opening a new chapter in the fashion history of Qatar. We wanted the people of Qatar to experience a slice of Paris in the heart of Doha and the launch of Galeries Lafayette epitomized that vision. From the architecture, the interiors, and the collection, to the vibe of the place, everything gives off a Parisian feel. Galeries Lafayette Doha is now one of the most popular fashion destinations in Qatar and we are extremely proud of being a part of its journey,” said Al Ghalia Nabeel Ali Bin Ali, the Head of Strategy and Operations at GLD.
Giving back to the community
Let’s go back in time and look at everything GLD has achieved in three years.
GLD is much more than a department store. It is a platform for showcasing upcoming local talents, not just in fashion, but also in art and culture. From launching the first ever ‘Made in Qatar’ fragrance brand, by Abdulla Al Abdulla, to its collaboration with the Heya Arabian Fashion Exhibition m, GLD has paved the way for the rise of some remarkable talents. It has offered its beautiful premises as galleries and has hosted the works of talented local artists: Ahmed Al Maadheed, Shouq Al Mana, Fanar Al Maadheed, and Qatar-based Serbian graffiti artist Dimitrije Bugarski.
Aware of its responsibility as one of the most popular department stores in Qatar, Galeries Lafayette Doha takes every opportunity to support the creative community. The ‘Together for Good’ campaign ’was launched soon after GLD opened in 2019, during the Holy Month of Ramadan, and formed part of a “global initiative for more responsible fashion”, according to a statement by GLD. A four-meter-tall mannequin was placed at GLD’s main entrance and clothes donated by passersby were put on it. Once a week, the clothes were handed over to charity organizations for distribution to those in need.
Retailtainment at its best
In line with Galeries Lafayette worldwide, GLD also brings to Qatar a unique take on retailtainment, where retail and entertainment meet and complement each other.
Some of GLD’s campaigns over the years have been unforgettable.
The unique ‘Let’s Play’ campaign took clients back to their childhood, as the store was dotted with retro games and animated interactive spaces for different age groups. For ‘The Exploration of Colors’ campaign with Pantone, fall and winter shades took over the store, and visitors were allowed to explore, embrace and dissect seasonal color trends.
The ‘Art of Fashion’ campaign stepped into a world inspired by the Memphis movement – an Italian design movement that began in 1981- known for its bold clashing colors, Art Deco geometric shapes and Pop Art color palette with a hint of 1950 kitsch aesthetic, Galeries Lafayette added its own twist to the idea by introducing elements of humor and surprise.
The ‘Lines of Abstraction’ ‘campaign was introduced with the tagline “The line that connects us”. The visual campaign was based on the idea of Line Art, or line drawings that consist of distinct straight or curved lines placed against a background to represent two-dimensional or three-dimensional objects. The ‘Fashion Runway’ campaign was an effort to pay tribute to everything behind the scenes of the fashion world. Adding novelty to the store windows, every display zone came alive, proudly flaunting the features inspired by the world of fashion runways.
Last but not least, the ‘Happy Birthday Smiley’ campaign celebrated the 50th anniversary of the French brand Smiley. GLD’s store, windows and interiors were decorated with smiley elements. Playful installations, in collaboration with graffiti artist André Saraiva and inspired by Smiley’s 50th anniversary logo, were created to mark the occasion. The international brands available at GLD also designed unique versions of their flagship products that blended in the with the visual identity of the Smiley 50th anniversary logo. GLD, in association with Beauty Hive Salon, set up an exclusive ‘Smiley nail art station’ to offer customers a chance to personalize their nails in any fun way they wished and to celebrate the world of Smiley.
Best kept secret
Finally, what’s a department store, let alone one as remarkable as GLD, without its services?
Located in the store’s spacious penthouse, La Suite is a haven of delights catering to the world’s most discerning clientele. A universe dedicated to service and luxury, offered by an expertly trained team of retail and hospitality professionals. From private viewings to catwalk shows, intimate parties to whimsical entertainment, the knowledgeable, creative and dynamic La Suite staff have an exceptional, no-limits attitude to service delivery. La Suite transforms an individual’s purchasing experience into a personal, engaging, unforgettable and truly magical event.
La Suite has an extension, an equally enchanting venue: The Terrace. This wonderful spot is a favorite for hosting exclusive private events and shows. Overlooking 21 High St and the scenic Katara Cultural Village, the Terrace is a special part of GLD, and its best kept secret, too.
Let’s not forget that Galeries Lafayette Doha also houses top-of-the-line cafes and restaurants. Alongside the international chain Café Pouchkine, Ali Bin Ali Hospitality collaborated with Ducasse Conseil (founded by one of the world’s leading chefs, Alain Ducasse) to develop 974 Delights, a chocolate and pastry shop, and Al Wahaj, a contemporary all-day dining restaurant. Diverse and unique in their own right, each restaurant is a gastronomical delight.
Three years later, the magic has not only remained intact, but it has doubled in intensity: deconfinement was a blessing!
Happy birthday, GLD!