By  on July 17, 2007

PARIS — Having infused the Nina Ricci runway with his ethereal and romantic vision, Olivier Theyskens is extending the aesthetic to the retail floor and the advertising page.

During the recent couture week here, the designer quietly reopened Ricci"s flagship with an interim all-gray, minimal interior. "Olivier and I were very adamant that the store feel different for the arrival of the goods," explained Mario Grauso, president of Puig Fashion Group, Ricci"s parent.

In Paris, that meant "skin-coating" the interior — walls, floors and ceilings alike — in gray cement and installing subdued lighting, a fitting backdrop for Theyskens" feminine and fragile yet edgy designs.

Theyskens has a new design concept for the Avenue Montaigne unit that will entail considerable construction, including the alteration of its central staircase, requiring approvals from French authorities. The unit is likely to be unveiled next January during couture week.

Ricci unveiled its first shop-in-shop, spanning about 500 square feet, on the couture floor of Bergdorf Goodman last month.

"Olivier Theyskens is an extraordinary designer and his arrival at Bergdorf Goodman has been eagerly anticipated by our associates and clients," said Jim Gold, the store"s president and chief executive officer.

Also opening soon are other shops-in-shops at Harvey Nichols in London, Galeries Lafayette here and Saks Fifth Avenue in Mexico City. All will feature elements that echo the future Paris flagship, including twisted matte brass fixtures and furniture inspired by the "twist" from the L"Air de Temps bottle — also a leitmotif in Theyskens" runway debut last March.

The fabric covering the fitting-room walls, a floral jacquard, comes from the original fragrance packaging.

Also opening this fall, with Ricci"s Russian partner, Crocus, is a 1,500-square-foot Ricci boutique at the Crocus City Mall in Moscow, along with a 750-square-foot corner at Crocus" multibrand store called Stoleshnikov Per.

Launching a New York flagship is also a priority for Ricci, and Grauso said he hoped to have one open by fall 2008. "It"s really more of a real estate challenge," he said in an interview. "Olivier is mulling different neighborhoods to find the one he feels is right for the brand. Right now, he"s leaning toward Chelsea."

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