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A talk with Liliane Jossua : Montaigne Market by Liliane Jossua

After spending over a decade in St Barths- French West Indies, Liliane Jossua and her husband decided nine years ago to move back to Europe to open Montaigne Market, 57 avenue Montaigne on the Parisian Fifth Avenue.

When jewelry becomes necessary in a fashion store. Explanations.

Leather boots and pants on, a deep bordeaux manucured fingers adorned with a few diamonds rings, multiple of earings on each side, the 45 years-old owner lives for what she created.

Liliane Jossua left Calypso, a multi-brand store – not to mention the one and only store in St Barths you should have visited when she founded it in 1996- where the concept was to offer a niche selection of designers combining fashion and accessories…

Over the years, Liliane Jossua understood the power of jewelry not as an accessory anymore, but as an item finishing up a silhouette. At Montaigne Market, pieces of jewelry became a must-have and a must-wear at all times.

Among the brand selection you can find accessories from Maison Michel or Valentino, shoes from Tabitha Simmons or Lanvin, clothes from Ungaro or Jason Wu and a wide jewerly selection including AS29, Stone, Repossi or DeJaegher Jewelry.

Montaigne Market recently opened above the ground level – where the store now comprises over 30 salespeople a little army.

– What role plays jewelry in a multi-brand fashion store ?
Back when I opened Calypso in St Barths almost 20 years ago, the concept of mixing clothes and alternative jewelry was competly new. We did not carry jewelers items, so the jewels we had were and still are accessories to finish up a look.

When we opened Montaigne Market, we had to introduce jewelry items slowly but surely. Now, we carry over 34 jewelry brands among the 120 designers we represent…it means 45 jewelry trays changing daily in our vitrines.
When I think about the power of jewelry, 90% of my requests used to be fashion designers against 10% in jewelry – it drastically shifted to approximately 50/50.

– How do you select your jewelry designers ?
Love at first sight ! Our clientèle is super meticulous in their fashion selection. Our feminine clientèle often comes with their own jewelry brand. If not, they come to the store wearing a piece of jewelry we haven’t seen anywhere before and we rapidly become fond of. However, there has to be a coherance in our selection always in adequation with the fashion line !

– What makes Montaigne Market a « must-go and see » address in Paris ?
Thank you for calling it this way – but I am hoping Montaigne Market will end up being on the must-see general parisian adresses, as of right now I believe it is more « famous » in the fashion sphere … If you ask a cab to take you to Montaigne Market, he won’t have a clue where that is.
On the other hand, the strength of the store is its location with a valuable touristic visibility. The famous Avenue Montaigne located a few steps from the Champs-Elysées where most of the worldwide luxury brands opened hundreds of square meters boutiques. We have an eclectic selection of pieces and designers to satisfy a wide range of customers with different wallets.

– Montaigne Market Now ?
My husband Jean-François and I are directing all operations. Although we have about 32 people working here including 3 jewelry managers…. When the baby is sleeping, we are the only ones to go back to the store from 10 p.m. til 4 a.m. to keep on working and finish up what we haven’t been able to during the day.

(Being a workaholic with the most gentle voicetone ever made, no wonder Liliane remains a caring and loving mother of five children – aged from 3 to 24 years-old).

– Montaigne Market in the future ?
It is a family-run business… So one step at a time. We have just extended our store, doubling its surface with a second floor. What I hope is to make Montaigne Market a must-go must-see address in Paris. But I also wish that we will keep doing everything we do and love with the same passion.

– Biggest satisfaction ?
When my son calls me from London, saying that he saw two British young ladies walking around Regent’s Park carrying Montaigne Market shopping bags. In a way… it means that the Montaigne Market selection attracts them more than all of what they can find at home !

– At the moment, what is your jewelry crush ?
I want to start by the brand Pristine by Lauren Rubinski. She truly is a trendsetter. Her jewels are amazing and so are her drawings. So unique and beautiful. The designer Ana Khouri that we are just getting at the store makes stunning eclectic pieces as well. Spineli that I am currently wearing ; a mutli-black diamond ring linked to each other by metalic bands or Yvonne Léon that I love and wear as well. She has made a special earings edition for Montaigne Market with Tahitian pearls.