By  on August 26, 2005

PARIS — Louis Vuitton calls them VICs: very important clients. And 100 of them have been invited to be the first to discover the world's biggest Vuitton shop on the Champs-Elysées here, set to open to the public Oct. 12.

They will be joined by select French customers to roam the 18,300-square-foot behemoth on Oct. 10 and 11, perusing exclusive products such as limited-edition crocodile pumps and diamond-studded watches.

This is the first time Vuitton, part of Bernard Arnault's LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton luxury empire, has invited international VICs to be early bird shoppers — greeted at the door by top management, no less.

The company declined to provide any details on the big spenders, but sources estimate some drop upward of $200,000 a year at Vuitton's network of 341 stores worldwide.

A Vuitton spokeswoman said it would offer no discounts to the VICs, nor pay for their trips to Paris. After all, many of these high rollers likely will arrive in their own private jets. Still, she said they would get the full "concierge" treatment as soon as they touch down in Paris.

This elite group, picked from key markets such as Japan, the rest of Asia, Europe and America, will be treated to a visit to Vuitton's museum in Asnières, followed by a private dinner.

As reported, Vuitton has swapped time slots with Yves Saint Laurent in order to close Paris Fashion Week with a private party feting its newest store. It will immediately follow its 8 p.m. runway show.

According to sources, among celebrities expected are Sharon Stone, Venus and Serena Williams and Uma Thurman, the star of Vuitton's advertising campaigns for the last two seasons running.

Meanwhile, Vuitton also is revamping its Web site and christening an online store. The site should be e-commerce ready on Oct. 12. Initially, sales will be limited to French customers during a test period, with a wider rollout slated for next year, according to the spokeswoman.

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