By  on September 6, 2007

LOS ANGELES — BCBG Max Azria has a fresh look at its newest store.

The $1.4 billion company based here unveiled the shop on Friday at 8400 West Melrose Avenue. The 3,200-square-foot store, the company's 386th location worldwide and its 12th in Los Angeles, occupies a corner space on West Melrose and Croft Avenues, next to the recently opened Theory, APC and Diabless boutiques and a block from the luxury boutiques of Melrose Place.

"We were looking to debut our new ideas for the store in an area that was forward-thinking and modern, and Melrose was the perfect fit," said Max Azria, founder, designer and chairman of BCBG Max Azria Group. "For us, it's not necessarily about what areas are 'hot,' but rather where our customers are. We want to seamlessly fit into our customer's lifestyle, which means being in the areas that she frequents."

The store, featuring hues of cream and beige with brown and orange accent furniture, has a clean yet cozy vibe.

"We wanted to create a space that felt inspired, organic and had a warm, lived-in quality; we wanted something that reminded customers of home," Azria said.

The outside of the store, which eventually will have ivy climbing its white walls, features wooden slat awnings and large wooden doors with antique brass handles. The window box displays are high-walled so passersby can't see into the store. Inside, curved, back-lit walls, skylights and a gold-tone metal ceiling garland give the feel of being inside an urban garden. A sitting area featuring low-back brown armchairs, a shag rug and a gas fireplace beneath a white quartz stone mantle invites customers to lounge and shop.

There are designated areas for the runway, ready-to-wear, eveningwear, footwear and accessories lines, though the floor plan is open and airy. The dressing room area provides a touch of sparkle with mini chandeliers and painted glass walls.

The store is a stark contrast to its sleek Rodeo Drive counterpart a few miles away, which features high-gloss white walls with chrome and red accents.

"Both locations are reflective of their neighborhoods,'' Azria said. "However, as a brand we are constantly evolving and always looking to introduce new design concepts regardless of address.""We plan to take a lot of these new elements and adapt them to other stores and retrofit older stores, depending on what works," said Danny Moizel, senior vice president of real estate for BCBG Max Azria Group, noting that the company is opening 25 stores in the next year. Boston launches this month, and a 12,000-square-foot flagship at Fifth Avenue and 40th Street in Manhattan, the brand's largest store, is to open in October.

As Melrose Avenue continues to evolve into a fashion destination, BCBG hopes to benefit. "The Melrose area is still young,'' Azria said. "It may not be the most trafficked L.A. store, but we know it will grow with the area."

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