By  on January 21, 2009

Chanel has placed another bet on Las Vegas even as the resort city struggles in the recession.

The French fashion house has opened its third store in the gambling and entertainment mecca at the Encore at Wynn Las Vegas resort, near its boutique in the neighboring Wynn Las Vegas.

The move comes despite a troubled economy that has jolted Las Vegas, where casino revenues and tourism have declined, and the disclosure that the estimated $11 billion CityCenter development is delaying construction of one of its hotels and is scaling back on residential units.

The Chanel store, which opened Dec. 22, joins Rock & Republic and several other boutiques in the new hotel. The 2,400 square foot Encore boutique features 900 square feet for fine jewelry, with 1,500 square feet for fashion apparel.

New York architect and long-time Chanel collaborator Peter Marino designed the space. The third Chanel store in Vegas is in the Bellagio.

Chanel executives said while they have no plans to close any units, 2009 sales expectations across all company stores have been revised downward. The fashion house expects the Encore store to be carried by overseas clientele.

“Obviously everyone is challenged in retail right now, traffic is down, travel is down and tourism is suffering, but Las Vegas still has appeal, particularly for international customers,” said Barbara Cirkva, division president of fashion, fine jewelry and watches at Chanel Inc. “We took a very specific, ultraluxury point of view in the Encore store and don’t think we will see much cannibalization between Wynn and Encore.”

The boutique carries one-of-a-kind diamond pieces, including the “Pluie de Diamant” necklace, which has a 10-carat, pear-shaped center diamond. The store also displays diamond pieces from the Chanel archives in Paris.

Its design borrows elements of Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel’s legendary Paris apartment at 31 rue Cambon, including the jewelry boutique’s salon, library and VIP room. The facade is glazed with woven gold metal and interior materials are in soft beige and gold, with gold travertine floors, custom bronze jewelry display case, gold hand-textured plaster panels and 180-inch antique screens that stand beside a large quartz-encrusted mirror.

The center of the ceiling rises to 15 feet and frames a custom Goosens chandelier. The new store also houses a private VIP salon with custom silk-lined walls and hand-stitched detailing in traditional Chanel tweed.

“We’re looking at all of what’s happening in business and retail right now as a phase,” Cirkva said. “I hope we will come out of it stronger than before.”

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