By  on September 18, 2007

PARIS — Christian Dior wants to take luxe to a new level on the retail floor.

The fashion house on Monday unveiled a dazzling bespoke makeover of its landmark flagship here, complete with silk carpets handwoven in Tibet that resemble pools of molten silver, fitting rooms wallpapered in embossed metallic leather and enough artworks and custom furnishings to rival a royal apartment.

"The objective was really to make it even more luxurious," Dior president Sidney Toledano said during a walk-through of the 13,000-square-foot flagship. "The customer is looking for ever-more sophisticated products in ready-to-wear and accessories. The whole mix is going up."

Dior expects its new "haute" decor to bump up sales of its most productive unit in the world, which market sources estimate generates annual revenues of more than $60 million.

On Monday night, Sharon Stone, Elton John, Juliette Binoche and Monica Bellucci were among the stars who stepped onto the gleaming marble floors — etched in Dior's signature caning pattern — for a gala evening to fete the new boutique and cap off the fashion house's 60th anniversary celebrations.

"I just bought two bags — purple and black," said Elton John, explaining his color choice by adding, "I just saw Prince — purple and black."

"Brutal," said Sharon Stone. She was describing her towering shoes from the July couture runway, not the store. As for that, she described it, "Beautiful, great, so tasteful."

With couture-quality silk rendered into rococo swirls as a backdrop to handbags retailing from 5,000 euros, or $6,800, and up, and a curtained VIP shoe salon showcasing fantasy styles from John Galliano's couture catwalk, the store shows off high-quality craftsmanship at every turn. Indeed, architect Peter Marino, responsible for the flagship's latest makeover and the previous one a decade ago, employed 56 shades of gray throughout the boutique, including a hand-painted fresco of clouds on the ceiling in shades reminiscent of a Gerhard Richter landscape. "I wanted Dior to just own gray," he joked (even the gray and soggy weather for the opening party cooperated).

But the store is hardly grim, and Marino added myriad fantasy touches, from giant blown-glass script on the walls by New York artist Rob Wynne imploring "Look Good" or "J'adore" to whimsical goat-legged stools in the fitting rooms.

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