The most fashionable stretch of New York's Fifth Avenue, where shoppers make the daily commute between Bergdorf Goodman and Saks, is getting an overhaul, thanks to these store openings.This February Louis Vuitton (1 E. 57th St., on the corner of Fifth Ave.; 866/884-8866; unveils its largest store ever, at 13,000 square feet—in time for the company's 150th anniversary.• Asprey (723 Fifth Ave.;800/883-2777; has kicked some youth into its conservative brand by completely gutting and reinventing its flagship. Now triple its original size, there's room for the new line of ready-to-wear clothing by Hussein Chalayan. • In mid-2004, Bottega Veneta (, known for its ultrasoft woven-leather bags, will open a boutique designed by Tomas Maier and architect William Sofield. • When its latest location bows in March, Ermenegildo Zegna (No. 663; 888/880-3462; will tap into its feminine side, presenting a women's collection for the first time along with the label's renowned menswear. • Muscling in at 20,000 square feet, the just-opened flagship of Salvatore Ferragamo (No. 655; 212/759-3822; features a gallery with rotating art exhibits—and handcrafted stilettos, silk scarves, and subtle scents. • September saw the U.S. debut of Mexx (No. 650; 866/444-1344;, an upscale Dutch version of H&M. Look for runway knockoffs, refreshments, and larger-than-average dressing rooms. • Façonnable (No. 636; 212/319-0111; outgrew its former Fifth Avenue digs and has relocated to a three-story outpost in Rockefeller Center, which houses its recently launched women's brand, Façonnable Platine. Designers for the store paid homage to the building's Art Deco roots by using marble paneling, dark wood floors, and natural lighting. • And at Lacoste (No. 608; 212/459-2300;, boldly colored polos, sweaters, and jeans stand out against the stark white backdrop.
—Hillary Geronemus