Michael Hadida, a native Parisian and the CEO of cult boutique Le claireur, reveals his favourite, little-known haunts in the City of Light.
By DIVYA BALA
FOR MICHAEL HADIDA, having an eye for the finer things is something of an occupational hazard, as he’s spent decades working in luxury fashion distribution and buying. Born on the outskirts of Paris to a French-Italian mother and a Moroccan father, Hadida grew up between Paris — where his parents ran Leclaireur boutique, selling luxury fashion, art and design products — and the family home in the south of France. His career took him to New York, Los Angeles and Perugia before he returned to his beloved hometown some years ago.
Hadida eventually took over the family business as CEO, having worked up the ranks as a men’s buyer and then director of development. Opened in 1980, the Leclaireur boutique was the first to introduce major international luxury fashion to Paris.
“It’s where I learned everything,” says Hadida. “The eye I have today is from there, from being ‘at school’ with my parents. They taught me everything. It’s the first concept store, opened almost 20 years before Colette [the now shuttered fashion boutique]. The first to mix fashion, design and lifestyle. At the time it was brand new. It was the first time in France you could discover Comme des Garçons and the Japanese school of designers, all the Italian ones and those from Antwerp. Leclaireur was the first ‘embassy’ for these guys, so it’s an iconic place, and today we have the nouvelle vague.”
There are now three stores in Paris and one in Los Angeles. The entrance to the Leclaireur boutique on Rue Hérold is via an unmarked green door — one must be in the know to find it. Hadida says the store has a kitchen and is often used to host dinners. “You ring the buzzer, the door opens, and the magic commences. It’s one of the most confidential addresses in Paris, but it’s very special because you have this mix of design, fashion, exclusive artists and artisans in a building that’s a renovated stable. It’s sublime.”
These days, Hadida is putting his efforts into a new project, curating a sustainable second-hand fashion edit called The Norm, set to launch in Leclaireur boutiques in September.
The idea of more intentional living has become something of a philosophy for Hadida. “I’m more into taking quality time than rushing and partying. It’s more about gathering than partying. It’s more sharing the quality of what we do and with whom we do it. I now promote not only slow fashion, but slow food, slow film… It’s always good to slow down from time to time, non?
GUIDE TO PARIS
“I’m a Leica addict. It’s like an accessory or a bag for me — I wear my camera, because the object itself is beautiful. The ritual of putting the film inside, the click, the perfect moment. It’s very special.”
“I love the Musée Rodin because there’s a park there that’s enclosed. There are never many people. There are the statues of Rodin and these incredible trees and leaves everywhere. It’s a little bubble of oxygen in Paris.”
“There’s a carousel for the kids, and they can ride ponies, too. You can buy them fairy floss and a waffle. It’s a moment to laugh and have fun. The trees and the views are incredible. To have a big park like that in the middle of Paris is such a luxury.”
“I never get disappointed. The meal, the pasta is, just, ‘wow’, and the wine list is amazing. It’s an Italian restaurant but the wine is French, and they have the best sommeliers I’ve ever met. They know exactly the conditions of the vineyards where their wines come from.”
“It’s neo-industrial, but at the same time it’s super refined, even in the decoration.”
“I organised a private dinner with my friend Elio of Cibus. It’s a very small Italian restaurant with six tables. Elio is from Naples, and he has an incredible menu at his restaurant. It’s very low-key, kind of like a trattoria. The people who go are connoisseurs.”
“It feels like you’ve left Paris, like you’re somewhere else. You can meet interesting people sitting next to you. I like the ambience and the plates and the little walk up through the private courtyard to get to it.