By and  on November 24, 2010

PARIS — Signaling a new expansion phase, Yves Saint Laurent plans to take up residence on the French capital’s premier luxury shopping street with a three-level flagship at 53 Avenue Montaigne.

The 10,000-square-foot boutique, slated to open in early 2012, is to showcase the French brand’s complete product universe, including women’s wear, men’s wear and accessories.

YSL president Valérie Hermann characterized the project as an important milestone for the 49-year-old brand, and a “sign of health and growth for the company.”

Indeed, she hinted at other upcoming retail projects, including a new flagship in China and a second location in New York City. YSL, part of PPR’s Gucci Group luxury division, is entering “a period of focused expansion,” she said.

The Montaigne unit is expected to be an evolution of the “Opium experience” design concept that YSL and its creative director, Stefano Pilati, first unveiled in 2008 at its historic location in Saint-Sulpice on Paris’ Left Bank.

That unit boasts pale stone, accents of polished brass and ceilings and wall panels in glossy lacquer the color of the French brand’s famous perfume bottle and packaging.

YSL will join the crème de la crème of European brands on Montaigne, including the historic Christian Dior flagship and — right next door — a lavish two-level Chanel location slated to open in late 2011.

Other residents on the strip include Louis Vuitton, Prada, Fendi, Akris, Nina Ricci, Valentino, Marni and Harry Winston.

YSL will take over a space currently occupied by Escada. Alexandra Valtin, Escada’s head of marketing, said the brand is looking for other locations on the street. Its lease runs out at the end of the year.

YSL already operates four freestanding stores in Paris, including two units on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré and another on Rue de Grenelle.

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