By  on November 19, 2007

LOS ANGELES — Vera Wang has signed a lease to open its first freestanding Lavender Label store here on Melrose Avenue next to Marc by Marc Jacobs and across the street from where the company last month inked a deal to open its first West Coast bridal store.Both stores, slated to open in fall 2008, are part of a national retail growth plan the company aims to accelerate in the first half of 2008.Lavender Label, a three-year-old contemporary line, is growing "by the hundred percentiles each year in sales," said Susan Sokol, president of Vera Wang apparel.The line sells in Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom and 400 retail doors worldwide, with international sales accounting for about one-third of the business. "Vera and I first visited Melrose Avenue and Melrose Place two years ago and fell in love with the look and residential feel of the area," Sokol said. "The location was critical for us and the retail adjacencies are great."Neighboring stores on par with Lavender's $400 average retail price point and customers include Diane von Furstenberg, a few doors west, and Catherine Malandrino.At 1,600 square feet, the store will have an intimate feel and, like the bridal store, will be designed by Michael Gabellini, who created Jil Sander boutiques worldwide as well as the Armani Café in Milan.In addition to apparel, the store may carry licensed accessories that Sokol said are "in the works."A Manhattan Lavender location is to open at 58 Mercer Street in SoHo in September. Potential future sites include Chicago, Miami, Las Vegas and San Francisco.

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