By  on January 26, 2006

PARIS — Calvin Klein Inc. is saying au revoir to Paris' hottest designer shopping strip just as the likes of Chloé, Jimmy Choo, Bottega Veneta and Chrome Hearts are saying bonjour.

Klein said Wednesday its company-owned boutique at 53 Avenue Montaigne would go dark on Saturday. A spokesman declined to elaborate on the reasons for the closure, and Tom Murry, CKI's president and chief operating officer, was not available for comment.

According to sources, the Paris store recently began to attract a loyal clientele for its men's wear, but not enough to justify the continued operation of the 5,800-square-foot emporium.

In a release, Klein said the licensee of its collection and bridge lines, Fingen SpA, would now expand its retail presence in French department stores.

Calvin Klein, a division of Phillips-Van Heusen Corp., also said Wednesday that Fingen would open freestanding boutiques for Calvin Klein Jeans in France, with the first opening at 142 Boulevard Saint-Germain in Paris next month and another in Cannes in March. In addition, ck Calvin Klein stores are slated to open this spring in Lille, France, and the Italian cities of Montecatini, Arezzo and Bergamo.

Klein first opened a Paris flagship at 45 Avenue Montaigne in 1997, with the designer himself declaring it a dream come true to be at "the historical center of fashion." That unit, under a licensing agreement with retailer Alain Adjadj, closed in 2000 and was replaced by a company-owned store in 2002.

Klein was the only American designer nameplate on a strip dominated by the likes of Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Ferragamo, Escada, Dolce & Gabbana, Jil Sander and Valentino.

Still, the company said it plans to build the profile of its Collection and CK brands in France by soon appointing a "high-profile" public relations person in Paris. Previously, Klein had an in-house team.

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