Joseph Ettedgui 1936-2010
Joseph, Sloane Street, London
There are certain people who have an innate understanding of what it takes to create a compelling shopping experience. I like to think of them as "retail therapists". Joseph Ettedgui, who died this week, was one such person.
“He made you feel enthusiastic about fashion,” says Michael Roberts, who remembers Joseph driving around late at night in his Rolls-Royce checking out the window displays in rival stores. “This huge car would come down the street, looking like a runaway Rolls with no one at the wheel. Then you’d see the top of his head and the puff of cigar smoke.” (quote from Style.com)
We might be so blasé these days about classically minimal retail spaces using chrome, glass and light that it's hard to remember that someone pioneered this winning combination. But someone did and that person was Joseph Ettedgui. His first store was designed by "Starchitect" Norman Foster of whom Joseph said,
"He opened my eyes to the importance of architecture, he translated my dreams"
It offered monochrome decor and predominantly black stock, and was soon a destination of a fashionable clientele from around the world. Although Ettedgui sold his stores a few years ago, the name alone is enough to pull in fashion A-Listers to a Joseph store event.
Joseph, Avenue Montaigne, Paris: March 2010
According to the Daily Telegraph, between the mid-1970s and 2002 he moved house no fewer than six times, on each occasion responding to the new trends he had identified: "In my homes and shops I have worked with architects and interior designers who I have admired and respected, and I have learnt much from them," he said. "But my tastes and needs move on, as do the colours and styles in clothing, and although each place was right for its time, when I am ready I leave."