PARIS — Haute couture may be practiced by an ever-decreasing circle of designers, but haute perfumery is starting to relive its glory days here.
Guerlain, the tony LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned beauty brand, will unveil its newly renovated Champs-Elysees flagship, dubbed La Maison Guerlain, next Tuesday, complete with a made-to-measure fragrance service.
The Jean Patou beauty brand, owned by Procter & Gamble, introduced a similar concept late last year in its refurbished store just off the swanky Place Vendome.
Offering a personal touch in a high-glamour locale helps set a brand apart in today's fine fragrance market, which has lost its luster due largely to the never-ending flood of new eaux.
For Guerlain, the refurbishment of its flagship at 68 Avenue des Champs-Elysees, which was first opened in 1914, is considered an opportunity to fully express the brand's values in one location.
"It's not a museum, not a place for training — it's not just a concept. It's a living space, a boutique, a place where we can do many things," said Renato Semerari, Guerlain's chief executive officer. "It is a boutique that will properly speak about luxury perfumery."
He noted that, through the renovation, Guerlain plans to focus the spotlight on its perfume patrimony through the store's architecture, product innovations and emphasis on service.
Interior designer Andree Putman and architect Maxime d'Angeac remodeled the three-story, 6,458-square-foot space under the supervision of French government agencies in charge of historic buildings.
On the ground floor will be the boutique, replete with marble floors and fixtures. An opening in its ceiling reveals a chandelier, which hangs from the second-floor mezzanine ceiling. A staircase leads to that story, which features a gold-accented hallway with undulating walls, where the brand's fragrances are showcased.
On the store's windows will hang rows of beads that act as curtains and resemble drops of rain or scent.
A spa is located on the third floor, which boasts 10 treatment rooms, including one for VIPs and two for water-based treatments. Guerlain beauty coaches will be on hand to offer advice and to give massages using a technique specific to Guerlain. The spa will open its doors in July.
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