A la Mode: France's Famed Luxury Hawker Takes on the U.S.

Photograph by Roberto Frankenberg for TIME

Overstock CEO Granjon amid some of his many contemporary art pieces at the Vente-privee.com offices outside Paris

Jacques-Antoine Granjon — you can call him JAG; everybody does — doesn't look like your typical French businessman. A hulking figure with shoulder-length curls and long pointy shoes, he looks like a cross between Louis XIV and Yogi Bear. In a country that mistrusts successful businesspeople and dislikes oddballs, JAG is both, and the French, amazingly, love him for it. His friend Pierre Corthay, who custom-makes Granjon's pointy shoes, calls JAG an ovni — French for UFO — but he means that in a good way.

Now the ovni in size-19 shoes is landing...

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