When I first saw that the BHV Marais department store had chosen Great Britain as its Christmas theme, I assumed it was due to the popularity of all things British on this side of the Channel. However, this week I discovered that there’s more to it than that.
The British theme is actually part of an initiative designed to promote British exports in France, launched in association with UK Trade & Investment, VisitBritain and the British Council. It’s part of the Great Britain Campaign being led by the British Government, to “bring the best of Britain to the world”.
The initiative is summed up in a press release issued by BHV Marais: “La Grande-Bretagne rayonnera au-delà de ses frontières, palpitant au centre de Paris, pour toucher le cœur des parisiens et des touristes visiteurs du BHV MARAIS.” (“Great Britain will shine beyond its borders, beating in the centre of Paris, to touch the hearts of the Parisians and tourists who visit BHV MARAIS.”)
British brands available at BHV all year round include Topshop, Ted Baker, Karen Millen, Burberry, Fred Perry and Dr Martens. But for a few weeks only, the shop’s Christmas windows are awash with Union Jacks and the slogan “Shopping is GREAT”. Meanwhile, inside, mannequins have been adorned with bearskin hats, selected members of staff have been chosen to dress up as Queen’s Guards, and customers can take selfies in a telephone box. Everything is shown in this video published by UK Trade & Investment.
It’s all very well done, it has to be said. And, judging by the crowds, incredibly beneficial for British brands. I wonder if Selfridges, Harvey Nichols or another British department store will return the favour next year…