April 30, 2009

Some might say that the biggest event of the Paris fashion season happened not on the runways but on the Champs-Élysées. In time for its 150th anniversary, Louis Vuitton (101 Ave. des Champs-Élysées, Eighth Arr.; www.vuitton.com) inaugurated a global flagship store that will serve as the benchmark for all Vuitton stores to follow. The boutique, a collaboration of architects Peter Marino and Eric Carlson, is not so much about floors as it is a shopping odyssey spread over multiple levels and modeled after seemingly disparate influences, such as the steppes of eastern Asia and the Guggenheim in New York. From the ground floor's antique-trunk display and the inspired Bag Bar, where customers can order the house's coveted accessories as though they were cocktails, shoppers take an escalator lined with state-of-the-art video screens to a women's atrium, a luggage lounge, and a bookstore that sells the just-released illustrated history of Louis Vuitton by Paul-Gérard Pasols (Abrams, $125) and the company's own line of city guides. An art gallery on the seventh floor will premiere with works by Vanessa Beecroft, and selected items, such as Paris Speedy Twilight watches, will be available only here. —TINA ISAAC

Louis Vuitton

Within view of the Arc de Triomphe, this Louis Vuitton flagship store is housed regally inside a stylized Haussman building along the legendary Avenue des Champs-Elysées. Along with rows and rows of leather-dyed luggage, this Louis Vuitton boutique of all Vuitton boutiques also holds vast collections of the label’s prêt-a-porter clothing as well as purses, shoes, and accessories. Shoppers can also enter via Rue Bassano and hike to the top floor, which holds a gallery-like space for revolving exhibitions.

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