In 1895, Théophile Bader and his cousin Alphonse Kahn opened a fashion store in a small haberdasher's shop at the corner of rue La Fayette and the Chaussée d'Antin, in Paris. In 1896, their company purchased the entire building at n°1 rue La Fayette; in 1905 they acquired the buildings at n°38, 40 and 42, boulevard Haussmann and n°15 rue de la Chaussée d'Antin. Bader commissioned the architect Georges Chedanne and his pupil Ferdinand Chanut to design the store at the Haussmann location, where a glass and steel dome and Art Nouveau staircases were finished in 1912.
From 1921 Maurice Dufrêne directed the Maîtrise workshop of the Galeries Lafayette. This workshop for decorative art and furniture followed the Primavera of the Printemps store founded in 1912 by René Guilleré, Paul Follot's Pomone of Le Bon Marché, and the Studium of the Grands Magasins du Louvre.