By  on November 9, 2007

Dior Beauty will open its first freestanding store in North America on Saturday in Las Vegas.

The store, located at the center of the Forum Shops at Caesars complex near the Louis Vuitton store — also owned by corporate parent LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton — is compact, just 350 square feet. But every inch of that space will be utilized, as it will carry the complete range of Dior's beauty offerings, from the brand's limited edition fashion makeup palettes to its high-end L'Or de Vie skin care lineup.

Terry Darland, general manager of Parfums Christian Dior, North America, added that the space formerly belonged to Wolford: "The space is a step beyond what we've been able to do with our retail partners. There is a height restriction of 6 feet in department stores; here, we don't have those restrictions, so we're really stepping out of the box. There are 9-foot video walls, and a ceiling with runway lights. The whole effect is of watching a Dior fashion show."

The store is also packed with interactive color, skin care and fragrance displays. "It will be a good place to test certain things," said Darland. "It will be interesting to have our own little laboratory. We can also test our promotions, and we will also do fun, Vegas-y products — for instance, things that are really bling-y."

Las Vegas was chosen for many reasons, said Darland — among them, extremely high foot traffic, a host of high rollers and a central space. "Also, Vegas is a huge city for Dior," said Darland. "The three largest Dior fashion boutiques are located in Las Vegas, and we have huge beauty businesses with Sephora, Neiman Marcus and Macy's. It's a Dior town."

Darland declined to discuss sales projections, although industry sources estimated that Dior would do at least $1 million in sales in the boutique's first year.

"If the reception is good, we're certainly open to doing more freestanding stores elsewhere, said Darland.

To kick off the store's first day and soft launch, the brand is sending one of its DiorShow makeup artists, Everett Suttle, who will offer makeovers and beauty tips to customers. A formal grand opening party will be held in December, said Darland.

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