The Galeries Lafayette (French pronunciation: [ɡalʁi lafajɛt]) is an upmarket French department store chain, the biggest in Europe. Its flagship store is on Boulevard Haussmann in the 9th arrondissement of Paris but it now operates a number of locations in France and other countries. In 2019, Galeries Lafayette recorded earnings of over five billion euros. It is a part of the company Groupe Galeries Lafayette and has been a member of the International Association of department stores since 1960.

In 1893, Théophile Bader and Alphonse Kahn opened a 70-square-metre (750 sq ft) store in Paris, on the corner of rue La Fayette and rue de la Chaussée d’Antin, selling novelty gifts. In 1896, the company purchased the entire building at number 1, rue La Fayette followed in 1903 by numbers 38, 40, and 42 on Boulevard Haussmann, as well as number 15, rue de la Chaussée d’Antin.[1]

Aryanization during Nazi occupation

During Nazi occupation of France in 1940, Les Galeries Lafayette underwent a process of "Aryanization", that is the removal of Jewish owners and their replacement by non-Jewish owners.[2] Théophile Bader, Raoul Meyer, Max Heilbronn, the store's administrators and 129 Jewish employees were forced to resign. The property of Bader, Meyer and Heilbronn families was taken.[3][4]

The Galeries Lafayette group was transferred to non-Jewish Svedberg owners: the Swiss Aubert and the French industrialist Harlachol.[5]


Théophile Bader appointed the architect Georges Chedanne to head up the first major renovations which were completed in 1907. Ferdinand Chanut, Georges Chedanne's apprentice, designed the store's 43-metre (141 ft) high Neo Byzantine dome.[6] This store's inauguration ceremony took place in October 1912.

In 1932, the store was renovated with an Art Déco style by an architect named Pierre Patou.

Fashion and events

Théophile Bader acquired production facilities in order to make clothing exclusively for Galeries Lafayette under its own private label. He also manufactured affordable versions of designer wear.[1]

This store then expanded to include menswear, furniture, toys and tableware departments and get involved in organizing events such as the rooftop landing by French pilot Jules Védrines in 1919.[7]

In 1922, it opened arts workshops under the artistic direction of Maurice Dufrêne in order to produce affordable furniture, fabric, carpets, wallpaper, pottery, and other household goods.[8]

Following the Second World War, the store underwent a complete makeover.

During the 1950s it hosted large international exhibitions, such as “The Best of Italian Manufacturing” in 1953.

In the 1960s, young designers began launching their ready-to-wear lines at the store. The first designer to become famous was Laura, in 1962. A little while later she went on to become known as Sonia Rykiel.[9]

From 1980 to 1999 “Fashion Festivals”, were organized, in order to select designs for the store. In 1984, the store opened a designer department including designs from, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Thierry Mugler.

From 2001 to 2015, Jean-Paul Goude collaborated with the brand on advertising campaigns in order to give the store a modern identity.[10]

^ a b Marzel, Shoshana-Rose (1 November 2006). "Théophile Bader, co-fondateur des Galeries Lafayette". Archives Juives (in French). 37 (2): 135–138. doi:10.3917/aj.372.0135. ISSN 0003-9837. ^ "82 Famous Jewish Concerns Get 'temporary Managers' in Occupied France". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 24 February 1941. Retrieved 19 February 2022. ^ O'Connor, Clare. "High Fashion, Nazi Plunder And Family Feuds: Retail's Newest Billionaire Has Quite A Story". Forbes. Retrieved 19 February 2022. ^ "Galeries Lafayette, Buchenwald, Galeries Lafayette-- / Max Heilbronn, avec Jacques Varin ; présenté par Alain Guerin. – Collections Search – United States Holocaust Memorial Museum". Retrieved 19 February 2022. ^ Staff, Par Times of Israel. "La saga juive des Galeries Lafayette". (in French). Archived from the original on 27 February 2021. Retrieved 19 February 2022. ^ filhol, Anne-Laure (14 October 2012). "La coupole des Galeries Lafayette fête ses 100 ans". Le Figaro (in French). ISSN 0182-5852. Retrieved 7 June 2017. ^ "Le 19 janvier 1919 dans le ciel : Jules Védrines se pose sur les Galeries Lafayette". Air Journal (in French). Retrieved 7 June 2017. ^ "La Maîtrise des Galeries Lafayette (Catalogue 1925) – Librairie des Archives : livres d'art épuisés, catalogues raisonnés, catalogues d'expositions rares, beaux livres, xx siècle". (in French). Archived from the original on 8 March 2017. Retrieved 7 June 2017. ^ "Sonia Rykiel (1930–2016), A Fashion Revolutionary, by Maude Bass-Krueger". Histoire de Mode (in French). Retrieved 7 June 2017. ^ "Les Galeries Lafayette arrêtent leur collaboration avec Jean-Paul Goude". (in French). 24 September 2014. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
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