Findings: Vuitton Opening… Louboutin Heads to Sao Paulo…

Accessories still bring in the customers, as evidenced by the Louis Vuitton event at Bloomingdale’s on Thursday night.

BIGGER AND BETTER: Accessories still bring in the customers, as evidenced by the Louis Vuitton event at Bloomingdale’s on Thursday night.

This story first appeared in the February 23, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The party to celebrate the newly opened Vuitton shop within Bloomingdale’s drew scores of Vuitton clients. The in-store boutique, which opened in 1995, has tripled to almost 3,900 square feet and now has three levels. Additional product categories such as men’s and footwear were added to the mix of handbags, eyewear and shoes. There is also a permanent two-story Louis Vuitton monogram pattern with a changing LED light display that covers the store’s corner at 59th Street and Lexington Avenue.

“We have a very long-term view of our business,” said Daniel Lalonde, president and chief executive officer of Louis Vuitton North America. “We have been looking forward to growing our footprint at the New York flagship for several years.”

Michael Gould, Bloomingdale’s chairman and chief executive officer, said of the space, “It’s a great growth opportunity for us.”

There are talks to expand Louis Vuitton into other Bloomingdale’s locations.

LOUBOUTIN GOES LATIN: Christian Louboutin is opening his first South American boutique at Iguatemi São Paulo, one of Brazil’s top fashion centers that also houses the likes of Gucci, Chanel and Louis Vuitton.

Like all Louboutin stores worldwide, the São Paulo boutique will house the brand’s red-soled stilettos, espadrilles, flats and growing handbag collection in a stylish setting. Designed in partnership with New York-based architect Eric Clough of 212box, the store will also be the only Christian Louboutin boutique to feature a facade of imbuia wood — grown exclusively in Southern Brazil — carved with thousands of intricate drawings.

“In such a pretty mall, I want to have my prettiest shoes,” said Louboutin. “Iguatemi São Paulo is the essence of Brazil — a mix of style and culture, supported by a splendid administration.”

The 865-square-foot store space is the designer’s 17th store worldwide and will open in March.

AWARDS SEASON: When the third annual Independent Handbag Designer Awards is presented in June, there will be more than just handbags. The contest has added a shoe category, as well.

Applications are now open for categories such as best student-made bag, greenest bag and best shoe. Sponsors include Crystallized Swarovski Elements, Singer Sewing Co., Parsons The New School for Design, Pantone, Foot Petals, Devi Kroell and M&J Trimming. Prizes include a free booth at WWDMAGIC, a “designer feature” on Singer Sewing’s Web site and an apprenticeship with Devi Kroell. Lulu Guinness will also be honored as this year’s Iconoclast recipient for her 20 years of achievement in handbag design.