By  on April 24, 2007

PARIS — Retail openings are accelerating on Avenue Montaigne, the requisite luxury address here for houses from Christian Dior to Louis Vuitton.

Jil Sander opened a boutique on the street last Wednesday, and Roberto Cavalli and Blumarine both plan to open shops there later this year.

Dolce & Gabbana changed addresses on Av­enue Montaigne last month for a bigger unit, and Beirut couturier Elie Saab just opened his first store right around the corner, overlooking the Champs-Elysées. Diane von Furstenberg plans to open her third store in the city, on the Rue François 1er, later this fall.

The openings come amid renewed retail activity in the City of Light.

Last year, brands including Brooks Bros. and Tommy Hilfiger opened their first flagships here, both located on the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Next month, Sonia Rykiel is opening its second store in the city, on the Avenue Georges V, and Hermès is expanding its flagship on Faubourg Saint-Honoré.

The Sander unit, at 56 Avenue Montaigne, occupies a space last rented by fashion brand Voyages.

At 4,500 square feet, the store is a scaled-down version of the brand's former 9,000-square-foot unit, just next door, which is now occupied by Dolce.

Minimalist in feeling, it has sand-colored stone floors and walls with a twisting black staircase that connects the first and second floors.

Women's ready-to-wear and accessories are merchandised on the ground floor, while more rtw and accessories are found upstairs in a suite of enfilade.

A corner is devoted to men's apparel, and a special room, the only one with a dark wood floor, houses eveningwear.

A spokesman for the brand said the shop was in line with Sander's strategy to open smaller stores in lieu of the larger flagships inaugurated under the direction of the house's namesake designer, who left after butting heads with Prada Group once she sold to the Italian firm.

Belgian Raf Simons, who joined the house in 2005, is scheduled to unveil a new concept for the brand's stores later this fall in London. Private equity firm Change Capital Partners now owns Jil Sander.Sander stores are planned this fall in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The brand said it hoped to operate 43 stores by yearend, up from 36 at present.

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