By  on December 20, 2006

Saks Fifth Avenue is rolling out a new look at its Beverly Hills flagship, focusing on the women's apparel and accessories departments.

The revamp includes the relocation and expansion of the store's four designer shop-in-shops, the creation of new jewelry and handbag departments and the renovation of the women's sportswear departments, including the addition of an Elie Tahari shop-in-shop.

After the work is completed in March, about 30,000 of the store's 260,000 square feet will have undergone tweaks, major and minor.

"The renovation is key at this time to support the growth we've been experiencing in jewelry, women's shoes and handbags," said Larry Bruce, vice president and general manager of the store. "It is about taking what we have been doing well, and making it even better."

The store is the company's largest outside New York. "California is so important to the fashion industry, and the company looks to Beverly Hills for emerging trends in West Coast fashion, not to mention celebrity style," Bruce said.

The company declined to disclose the cost of the renovation or the potential impact on sales. However, Bruce said, "When I'm speaking with clients or out in the community, they keep saying that the store now has very much a New York sensibility ... All of this newness creates a great reason for our customer to come back again and again."

The most significant stage of the renovation was completed last week, including the first-floor shop-in-shops: Gucci, Prada, Chanel and Louis Vuitton. The Chanel boutique marks the debut of the designer brand's latest shop-in-shop model, which features glass walls on three sides. The Prada store, a sleek, white-walled space peppered with large glass display cases, is also the latest template for the brand.

The Louis Vuitton shop, which moved from the north side of the building to the south, grew to 1,700 square feet from 880 square feet, enveloping an area formerly occupied by Gucci and Prada, both of which moved to the edges of the revamped shoe department. Prada expanded to 800 square feet from 200 square feet, Chanel grew to 1,200 square feet from 750 square feet and Gucci increased to 750 square feet from 200 square feet.The 3,600-square-foot women's shoe department was reconfigured with low rosewood and stainless steel display tables and light pink Mod-inspired sofas, said Kari Miller, director of fashion and public relations for Saks in Southern California.

Miller calls the new 4,500-square-foot jewelry department, which features chandeliers, each comprising more than 1,000 Swarovski crystals, the store's pièce de résistance. The department features pieces from companies such as Cartier, Roberto Coin and Fendi illuminated by spotlight-style lights. "The department is an homage to old Hollywood glamour, but obviously in a modern way," Miller said.

The relocated handbag department, which includes breakout displays for exotics and evening bags, expanded to 4,000 square feet from 3,200 square feet, and bowed with a spate of brands new to the Beverly Hills store, including Alessandro Dell'Acqua, Zac Posen and Be & D.

Bags hang from easily accessible hooks and sit on amber-hued marble display tables. A handful of semitransparent ball-chain valances hang from the ceiling, functioning as soft room dividers.

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