EXCLUSIVE: L’Agence Opens Paris Flagship and Showroom as Springboard for European Expansion

PARIS – L’Agence is setting down roots with a new flagship and showroom in Paris — the name of the L.A-based fashion and denim brand is French after all.

“There’s a connection in the brand DNA,” chief executive officer Jonny Saven told WWD.

The brand was cofounded by former J Brand jeans founder and chief executive officer Jeff Rudes in 2008 to bring a Parisian twist of style to California cool.

“From a product and brand sensibility, it continues to be a lot of the connective thread. Whether it’s us representing the Parisian feeling in our U.S.-based stores, or the California feel in our Parisian store, there is that connectivity, so to be our first store outside of the U.S., Paris makes a lot of sense,” said Saven.

The 1,400-square-foot boutique will have retail on the ground floor and a wholesale showroom upstairs. Rudes took inspiration from Art Deco and added small touches, such as sourcing the original wallpaper design from Marlene Dietrich’s Parisian home to add to the Old Hollywood ambiance.  

The space was designed by Rudes and architect Paul Bennett to blend both worlds in an “inviting, warm, shoppable way,” said Saven.

On offer will be the brand’s ready-to-wear, denim, footwear and accessories. It’s the first European flagship for the company and will serve as a launch pad for its continental expansion.

The prime Marais location at 25 Rue de Saintonge promises a good mix of tourists familiar with the label and an opportunity to build brand awareness on this side of the pond.

“The two biggest initiatives for this year in particular are retail and global [expansion], and this is kind of the intersection of these two meeting,” he said. Wholesale will be a major focus, and the brand currently has agents in Antwerp, Belgium; Düsseldorf, and Milan.

L'Agence flagship in Paris Marais

Inside the L’Agence flagship in Paris.

Justino Esteves / Courtesy of L’Agence

It also has a long-standing agent in London, where it is currently carried at Harrods, and will open a shop-in-shop at the end of July.

“We will look to do more of those kinds of installations…It gives us an opportunity to create a full representation of the brand,” he said.

The company will also look to expand in the South of France — Cannes or Saint-Tropez are being explored — when it expands further in the country.

“We definitely have quite a captive customer that knows us down there. Speaking to both retailers and customers, we know that there is potential,” Saven said. “Over the next three years, I would expect us to have at least a single handful of stores in the European market.”

Outside of Europe, L’Agence will open its first brick-and-mortar store in Seoul in mid-August.

The brand has had a wholesale showroom in the city for the past 14 months, and similar to the Paris setup, it serves as a hub for other markets throughout Asia. Tracking information gained through its global e-commerce site launched last October, the company drilled down on the data to research what countries and regions are driving demand.

“We looked at Asia and saw where most of the [sales] momentum was sourced, and Seoul is that market right now,” he said. The Korean customer is very open to new brands and fashion exploration, as well as a “bit more denim-centric these days,” which is a core component of the brand.

“Japan has been a tough market in general for a lot of brands, especially American brands, and Korea seems to be a lot more open to engaging with us,” he said.

L'Agence flagship Paris Marais

Inside the Art Deco inspired L’Agence flagship in Paris.

Justino Esteves / Courtesy of L’Agence

It’s all a culmination of building on its momentum and rapid growth in the U.S. — “well above” 20 percent over the last year, Saven said.

The expansion is the result of a long-term development plan that saw L’Agence bring in new marketing executives to up global brand awareness as they launched new categories, including swimwear and footwear.

Both have been “very successful,” said Saven, with swim making the biggest splash. The brand has also just launched candles, as it expands into lifestyle categories.

“We believe that the international brand awareness is starting to really kick in. And now is the time to take advantage of that,” he said. “It’s a combination of product hitting at the right time in the right place, and the ability for us to now tell a story in a really global way.”

As it expands its categories, the brand has built a high return customer rate and loyalty. Customers are willing to wear a “uniform” of the brand’s style.

“It’s not an item-driven business,” he said. “[Customers] realize very quickly that it’s something that can be a go-to for multiple categories within their closet.

“We’re selling [more] units per transaction,” he said, with customers willing to walk out in head-to-toe L’Agence, or adopt its casual uniform.

“That complementing is really what has helped to accelerate the growth as well,” he said.

L'Agence Paris flagship Marais

The second floor showroom space of L’Agence.

Justino Esteves / Courtesy of L’Agence

The brand currently has four boutiques in the U.S., in New York and Los Angeles, and is carried in about 300 retailers across the U.S., U.K. and Canada.

Three more stores are planned in the U.S. in the next six months including key markets such as Florida and Texas.

“Our pipeline is pretty full,” he said. L’Agence should hit a dozen stores in the U.S. by the end of 2025, and it is also exploring opening stand-alone retail in Canada.

Over the next year, the brand will launch outerwear and is exploring sleepwear down the line.

“We want to make sure that [the new categories] are really ones that our customers again are voting for, as opposed to just saying, ‘Here’s product for that market.’ We really want to make sure that that is the right product for the customer.”

L’Agence is connecting with consumers at its price point. “Luxury is in a slowdown,” said Saven. “We’re bringing a lot of that quality and a certain comfort to the brand that a luxury brand might as well, but we are doing it at a more affordable level.”

L’Agence will have a formal launch event for its new French store in September to coordinate with Paris Fashion Week.

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