By  on May 17, 2006

LOS ANGELES — James Perse's California-inspired luxe casualwear has a new home in the desert.

Perse opened his fourth eponymous store last week in Las Vegas, and plans three more in various locations by the end of this year.

The 1,600-square-foot boutique bowed at the Forum Shops at Caesars, which features about 160 boutiques and shops, including Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Etro, Bulgari, Gucci and Polo Ralph Lauren, as well as mall mainstays Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap, Juicy Couture and Victoria's Secret.

The Las Vegas store is the company's first non-freestanding location. The designer's signature style is in evidence. Warm-hued wood is intermingled with white walls. Wooden rafters dissect the ceiling, evoking a "homey, inviting, California feel," Perse said.

"The Forum Shops...has much more of a mall presence" than shops at hotels such as the Bellagio, Perse said. "We always look for the classic location of any marketplace. We're not really about being in the most forward, newest, hippest thing."

Prices range from $39 for a crewneck T-shirt to $185 for a wrap sundress. Perse estimated store sales at $4 million for the remainder of 2006, adding, "I always project conservatively and hope for the best."

Perse said he chose to locate in Las Vegas because "it really picks up a customer base all over the U.S. through people traveling to Las Vegas — whether they're there for a conference or a weekend trip. In some cases, you're picking up your exact same customer."

Perse, 33, the son of Tommy Perse, owner of the cutting-edge Maxfield here, launched his first collection of women's knitwear in 1996. He has since opened retail locations on Melrose Avenue here and in Malibu and Manhattan.

The designer said the company plans to open three more stores in the U.S. by yearend, but declined to disclose locations.

He added, "We'll have a minimum of four more stores added in 2007. The only international location will probably be in Tokyo. In 2008, we will be focused on international retail."

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