Timothée Paris Opens First Flagship with Japanese Design Touches in the Famed La Félicité Building

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Japanese designer Masamitu Hata created a little slice of home in for the first flagship of footwear brand Timothée Paris.

Set the store in the historical La Félicité building on the banks of the Seine, the former government building was constructed in 1995 and reimagined by Pritzker Architecture Prize winner David Chipperfield in 2022, a study in architectural contrasts. With its modernist concrete arches framed by a tranquil garden, the space is center of calm set apart from the neighborhood bustle, not to mention the SO hotel and its hip rooftop bar upstairs.

That same spirit also represents the brand and Hata’s spirit. “It’s very serene, exactly the vibe we wanted,” said the Tokyo-born designer.

The 430-square-foot boutique was designed with Moroccan-French architect and artist Kaïs Aïouch. With the garden being such a wow-factor for Hata, they kept the interiors simple with natural wood colors, soft creams and beige. The minimalist and peaceful interior has seamless flow that makes the garden the star attraction.

“It reminds me a lot of my childhood in Japan, because we have this thing called engawa in traditional houses, where I spent a lot of time with my grandmother. That’s the feeling that you get at our store.”

That idea leads to its unusual name: Timothée.

When Hata was ideating and sketching the brand concepts, he’d spend hours alone in his studio. A neighbor was always calling after her playful child and Hata could hear the name floating in the air. It captured the free spirit he was trying to translate to footwear.

“This young, mischievous child was always running fast or doing something wrong, but out of curiosity,” he said. “He was a little kid but I was very much inspired.”

Hata launched the brand in 2017 with a series of formal shapes featuring 70s-style square toes, before a post-pandemic pivot. Along with business partner Pierre Rivière, they reevaluated their brand purpose and decided it was to get people out and about with a focus on comfort. The result was sportier styles such as a sneaker, slip-ons and loafers Hata defines as “modern classics.”

They now produce in Portugal, in the same factory that makes several French luxury brands. The hand-carved, thick-soled Cabourg is their best seller.

They also offer women’s styles, too, and hope to make this category more visible in the new location.

“Maybe this is my Japanese approach, but through our product, it’s not about showing off, but to provide a tool for our client to have more joy,” he said.

The brand retails at nine doors in Japan, including Tokyo’s Isetan, half a dozen outlets in South Korea, with single stores in Belgium, Singapore and Switzerland. In France, they’re carried in Printemps and L’Exception.

The Paris outpost marks Timothée’s first flagship and a sign of the brand’s expansion plans. With the retail location open, they’ll be welcoming buyers during the upcoming men’s fashion week with hopes of getting footholds in the U.S. and U.K. markets.

Who studied fashion design at Ravensbourne University in London before moving to France with the encouragement of then-Burberry designer Christopher Bailey and Harper’s Bazaar then-editor in chief Glenda Bailey. He interned at John Galliano where he worked in both womenswear, learning techniques like draping, and menswear, where he explored tailoring and structure.

He moved to Berluti under Alessandro Sartori, where he tried his hand at shoes. He adapted to design quickly, and learned the technical aspects by visiting the factories, which he calls “the best training ever.”

Now he collaborates with the artisans directly to craft his comfortable designs.

The Timothée team will celebrate the opening with a private event on Thursday. The store is located at 16 passage de l’Ile-Louviers.

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