By  on May 16, 2007

LOS ANGELES — The luxurious, 2,000-square-foot space on Melrose Place here is retailing as Richard Lambertson and John Truex envision it, an oasis from gadgetry where sophisticated shoppers are treated as such.

The launch today of Lambertson Truex's store is a watershed event in the accessories brand's almost 10-year history, signaling the kickoff of its retail strategy. With the backing of Samsonite, which acquired Lambertson Truex in July, seven to eight stores are planned in the next few years. Las Vegas, Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, Miami and Boston are among the cities that are being considered for stores that range from 800 to 1,500 square feet.

A tour of the Melrose Place outpost starts at a wood-paneled foyer filled with handbags and clutches, winds through a men's salon and a so-called living room of shoes, and ends at a library of bespoke handbags. All the while, an eclectic mix of music plays softly and attentive salespeople offer Champagne and seating.

"The whole feeling of the store is residential," Lambertson said.

Picking up that thought, co-founder Truex added, "When a woman walks in, we want her to feel both Richard and me. We want her to feel our souls and our spirit."

David Lamer, president of merchandising, marketing and sales, said Lambertson Truex drew upon Lambertson's retail background at Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys New York, and both partners' classic taste in store design. Lambertson and Truex collaborated with Tsao & McKown Architects to turn the one-level space, a former residence, into a retail space.

"It was important for them to bring the customer into that home habitat," Lamer said. "You are literally walking into someone's very elegant home."

Lambertson Truex joins Marc Jacobs, Oscar de la Renta, Diane von Furstenberg and Carolina Herrera, among others, on the two-block strip off La Cienaga Boulevard that has become a luxury epicenter. Despite the big names, Lambertson said Melrose Place retains a neighborhood feel.

"We settled on the location because Melrose Place is very intimate," Truex added. "We really were inspired by the tranquility of it all."

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