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A few words by Loïc Prigent

Culture | Feb 25 - Apr 2, 2017

Overheard at Le Bon Marché by Loïc Prigent

The exhibition Overheard at Le Bon Marché by Loïc Prigent reminds us that Le Bon Marche, a fashion and culture venue, is first and foremost a place of life and exchange, and that humour and creativity are largely shared gifts.

Loïc Prigent tells us more about his exhibition. © Loïc Prigent by Gabriel de la Chapelle.

"Overheard at Le Bon Marché", this is an exhibition about sentences heard at Le Bon Marché. For some days, I've wandered in the most "Rive Gauche" of all department stores. I've heard all those who make Le Bon Marché a heart of Parisian life. There are regular customers who feel very comfortable, tourists discovering the Parisian way of life, experienced salespeople, cheeky demonstrators, children momentarily abandoned:

"Are you lost? Where's your mom?

  • She's at the shoe department!"

There's frivolity, bizareness, there's common sense. This is insouciance you can hear there, you are in a very special place:

"This is a sublime coat and nothing serious can happen to you while wearing it!"

A favorable place:

"I don't feel pretty. I need people to lie to me."

A place where you develope seld-defense and an effective armor:

"What you're wearing looks nice.

  • I know."

The usual sentence that kindly drives the staff mad is:

"Are you the cash register?"

It's when someone asked me this question, I had probably alread asked myself, that I understand how funny it was, and that I spent a little too much time at Le Bon Marché.

"I need high heels that make a sexy sound when I walk."

Yes, of course, that seems evident, and we all exactly understand what this customer means, the effect she's looking for, for her and for people around her.

There's this very aristocratic customer with a deep voice railing against a salesperson:

"Find me a jumper!"

and another one you should not ask his size:

"How the hell would I know that?"

Everyday, stories like this woman who refuses to leave when it's closing time because she still has to find a scarf before taking her plane for Moscow.

In her mind, Le Bon Marché must not close its doors before she gets her neck sheltered from the Russian cold. Le Bon Marché is a parallel universe, a protected world where everybody strives for an ideal:

"I'd like gloves that go up."

asks an extremely chic lady. Her friend is looking for "a handbag to go to the theater tonight."

I also really liked this man, abandoned by his wife in one of the Le Corbusier armchairs underneath Andrée Putman's escalators. Rather than making a long speech, he was just peacefully snoring, feeling really good at Le Bon Marché.

Loïc Prigent

Il y a la légèreté, il y a la frivolité, il y a la cocasserie, il y a le bon sens. C'est une insouciance que l'on entend, on est dans un lieu à part.