By  on October 9, 2008

LOS ANGELES — Paige Premium Denim is looking to new stores in Las Vegas and New York to counter the effects of the economic downturn, which is expected to force a pull back among the company’s wholesale customers.

Three years after unveiling its first flagship here on Robertson Boulevard, the premium denim brand opened a larger, grander boutique in Las Vegas’ Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian hotel on Monday. The company is now readying for the Nov. 24 ribbon-cutting of a loft-like store in New York’s Meatpacking District.

“This is a good strategic move for us,” said Paige Adams-Geller, the namesake founder of the Culver City, Calif.-based label. “As a company, we really seriously look to see where we want to conserve money and where we want to strategically grow. My idea for the brand since the inception was I always wanted to be an international lifestyle brand. With that focus, the stores are where we can grow the business.”

Adams-Geller declined to disclose financial figures for the privately held company. She said that even in the current economic crunch, the 1,200-square-foot store in Los Angeles — located a few blocks away from popular multibrand boutiques such as Lisa Kline and Kitson, and near freestanding shops by rival denim labels including Seven For All Mankind and True Religion — is a money maker. What’s more, she said it behooves a brand to fend for itself in a slowing economy that may crimp opportunities at the wholesale level.

“Especially now in the economic times, retailers have cut the number of premium denim brands in the stores,” she said. “Through tough times, retailers seem to narrow the breadth of product. They’re a little more particular about what they want in [their] stores. At many times, Paige as a brand is so big and broad. There are so many styles that no one ever gets to see in a department store. But the [Paige] store can carry it.”

Paige moved into the 1,600-square-foot space at the Grand Canal Shoppes vacated by handbag maker Dooney & Bourke, which, according to Adams-Geller, graduated to a larger location in the Venetian hotel. Although Adams-Geller had been flirting with the idea of expanding her branded retail business to Las Vegas, where Paige is sold at Scoop, Intermix, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, she didn’t seriously consider the jump until the Venetian hotel called her in February to set up shop there.

Straying not too far from the bridge where one boards the gondolas inside the Italian-themed casino and hotel, visitors would walk past shops for BCBG and Lladró before arriving at the Paige store, which is near the entrance to the Palazzo, where Barneys New York is located.

“We did research on traffic at the Venetian,” Adams-Geller said. “It was great traffic.…It’s a great place to build domestic exposure and international exposure.”

Sharing the chic but homey feel of the Los Angeles store, with a palette in chocolate brown, ivory and sea foam green, the Las Vegas unit sparkles with a little more flash. The floors are composed of metallic tiles, unlike the concrete poured into the Los Angeles shop. Stainless steel bars and glossy white tables enhance the Macassar ebony wood cut into shelves.

The Las Vegas shop will display wares from various brand extensions that Paige has introduced through the years, including $169 boot-cut style jeans, $795 leather jackets from Paige Black Label, petite sizes and maternity jeans and $179 dungarees from PPD Jeans for Men. Adams-Geller said that while the Los Angeles store stocks more denim to outfit the laid-back California lifestyle, half the items in the Las Vegas shop will represent more tailored looks from Paige Black Label.

Paige’s New York outpost will be located at 869 Washington Street, tucked between two Scoop shops and neighboring designer and contemporary fashion purveyors such as Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Jeffrey and Diane von Furstenberg. The store will highlight more cutting-edge designs and fabrics, such as skinny jeans, ankle peg styles, trenchcoats, leather and a thick and stretchy wool blend called ponte di roma. The 1,000-square-foot space affords a more intimate environment, and Adams-Geller will stick with her chocolate brown and ivory palette to complement the exposed brick wall and dark wood floors.

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