By  on August 14, 2007

BEVERLY HILLS — The Chanel boutique on Rodeo Drive will reopen on Wednesday after an eight-month renovation, revealing a feminine new design that pays tribute to the house's legendary founder, Coco Chanel.

Architect Peter Marino conceptualized the design for the 14,700-square-foot store and "was very inspired by Coco Chanel's apartment in Paris [at 31 Rue Cambon]," said Barbara Cirkva, president of Chanel's fashion division in the U.S. "One of Peter's ideas was to bring a residential feel into a retail environment. I think the luxury customer relates to that and understands it."

Marino's firm also designed most of the store's furnishings, including a gold leaf-backed glass coffee table and a host of chairs and sofas covered in custom tweed fabrics, a nod to the house's signature fabric.

The four-story Beverly Hills store is the second highest-performing unit for the company, just behind the 57th Street location in Manhattan.

The unit was renovated with a Peter Marino-designed concept five years ago, but since then, "the design of the store concept has evolved," said Cirkva, "and we felt [that] because Beverly Hills is such a key market in the U.S., it was important that we incorporate some of the newest ideas into the store. Beverly Hills is really a flagship city...it's international and a great tourist mecca."

Cirkva said the company expects the renovation to significantly impact sales in the store. "We renovated Chicago last year, and since then, the business has been trending up from 30 to over 40 percent every month," she said. "So we would certainly expect Beverly Hills to have a similar type of response."

The revamp included a complete reworking of the store's facade, which wraps around the northeast corner of Rodeo Drive at Brighton Way.

The new storefront is an eye-popping dedication to the iconic black-and-white packaging of the Chanel No.5 fragrance. Blocks of glossy white fake stone are framed by blackened metal in repetitive rectangles. "The box was a very specific proportion, and you get the connection [to the fragrance box] between the planes of space," said Cirkva.

Inside, the new design called for the build-out of the first Chanel fine jewelry and watch department in North America, a 2,460-square-foot space with caste bronze walls and its own separate entrance on Rodeo Drive.

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