What If You Were…

Locked in Le Bon Marché?

Here’s what happens when Fiona Zanetti pays a visit to Paris’ most famous department store and stays little bit too long.

At closing hour, peach and lavender light from the west bounces down the facades of Rue de Sèvres toward Le Bon Marché, and inside, an old melody of three notes plays as a cue. From the buildings’ far-reaching corners, in-store cafés, dressing rooms, the glass bridge over Rue du Bac, and even a basement barber shop, tourists and locals ease toward the ground floor of the sprawling five-floor, two-building department store that’s been famous in Paris for 166 years.

The exiting parties amble past the bags and beauty products, turning for one last look at the crisscrossing escalators before they push out of the glass doors and onto the street. Hands heavy with shopping bags or, for some, just wishes, they all step out into the dimming evening light.

All, that is, but one.



















  • Fiona Zanetti Wears:
  • Top and pants by Forte_Forte
  • Shoes by Magda Butrym
  • Earrings by Mounser

The music has stopped and the overhead lights switch off floor by floor with hardly a sound. Surely, if she were caught, it would be in this wide-open stretch arranged with teetering heels, bright sandals, and flat boots. With a line of sight uninterrupted through the open gold shelves that reach up to the glass ceiling, the shoe salon seems both the worst and best place to watch and wait. The final glow from the sky outlines the ironwork above her head—a hallmark of this corner for nearly a century—and for a moment it feels like a giant precious birdcage.

She tiptoes around the low seating, her head-to-toe silk gliding noiselessly, and glances down the darkened aisles, listening for footsteps. She plucks out a shoe here and a shoe there. As the minutes pass, they collect on the long sofa. No one is coming. The place is hers.

She tiptoes around the low seating and glances down the darkened aisles, listening for footsteps. No one is coming. The place is hers.


















  • Zanetti Wears:
  • Coat by Koché
  • Belts by Kate Cate and Maison Vaincourt
  • Bag by Heimat Atlantica X LHD
  • Shoes by Off-White

Hunger strikes, as it often does in the nebulous hours between night and morning. Across the glass bridge is the storied Le Grande Epicerie, the grocery within the second building of Le Bon Marché. She imagines the unguarded cases of cheeses, the giant baskets of fruits from the French countryside. With a large trench belted around her and tall sturdy boots, she makes the journey over the bridge and down an elevator.

The doors open. Vacant rows of bright produce, bookcases of water from springs around the world, and towers of the store’s famous jam act as maze walls. She comes upon the unmanned checkout counters and climbs on top, searching from above for the candy aisle or maybe the wine. Maybe even, she thinks, another lone soul.

Hunger strikes in the nebulous hours of the night. Vacant rows of bright produce, bookcases of water, and towers of the store’s famous jam act as maze walls.


















  • Zanetti Wears:
  • Dress by Attico
  • Shoes by Sergio Rossi
  • Necklace by Ca&Lou

At what time of night do you begin to scroll through lipsticks and douse a different fragrance on each part of each arm? When does a red sequined gown and sparkling jewelry sound like the only right thing to wear? She paces up and down the halted central escalators. An unmissable crimson spot tracing the inclines and declines, were there any observers. The wind—or is it morning birds already?—whistles through the roof, and she realizes it’s the only sound she’s heard other than her own since the doors locked.

From the epicenter of the latticed escalator, she has the perfect vantage point to peer into every floor. X marks the spot, she thinks. She can see the ceiling of the birdcage above her and the disrupted rows of perfume bottles below her; endless racks of dresses, the denim tailor, the cafés, and the dressing rooms across from her; she can even see through to some far-reaching corners of the five-floor, two-building department store. Will it all still feel like home when the sunrise shows through the glass ceiling and the doors click open? Will they notice the footprints on the checkout counter, the backward order of the lipsticks? Thankfully, it remains hers for hours to come.

At what time of night does a red sequined gown and fine jewelry sound like the only right thing to wear?
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