By  on October 5, 2009

When Maria Luisa Poumaillou opened her eponymous boutique in Rue Cambon in 1988, her address became famous for carrying not just the best of fashion, but also many small, edgy brands that are now household names.

Department store Printemps hopes to renew that success as a branch of Maria Luisa formally opened Saturday within its sprawling Boulevard Haussmann flagship.

With Poumaillou’s involvement, Printemps, which has just emerged from a major refurbishment in a move to rebrand itself as an upmarket shopping destination, will make directional designers available in a department store for the first time in France.

“That’s why we wanted this partnership,” said Tancrede de Lalun, merchandise manager for men’s and women’s wear at Printemps.

Decorated in ivory and charcoal-gray large stripes with a powder pink ceiling, the boutique occupies a 2,583-square-foot space at the core of the second floor, where the main designer lines are located.

The reason for placing the shop-in-shop at the center of the store was to complement Printemps’ more mainstream designer offering with edgier labels like Gareth Pugh, Rick Owens, L’Wren Scott, Manish Arora and Martin Margiela, as well as with a number of exclusives like Victoria Beckham, Pierre Hardy and Manolo Blahnik.

Poumaillou, who was appointed fashion editor in January, will select the designs and the labels to be sold in the boutique, using a budget provided by Printemps.

The shop-in-shop has been differentiated from its stand-alone sister through custom-designed carrier bags bearing the “Maria Luisa Printemps” logo.

Although it was formally inaugurated Saturday, Maria Luisa has been trading since September as part of a soft opening meant to test its impact on shoppers. “Our clients have welcomed the products,” de Lalun said.

Prices range from 30 euros, or $43.75 at current exchange rates, for perfume and raise up to 6,000 euros, or $8,751, for a fur-lined leather coat by Rick Owens.

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