LAS VEGAS — It was bling at its brightest in Las Vegas this past weekend as the who’s who of fashion and beauty turned out to help celebrate the official opening of the wing of retail shops at the new $2.7 billion Wynn resort.

Designers such as Manolo Blahnik and Oscar de la Renta drew huge crowds during their personal appearances at their new stores in the resort’s retail esplanade, a 75,000-square-foot corridor of luxury retailing, which includes the likes of Dior, Cartier, Jo Malone, Chanel, Brioni, Louis Vuitton and Jean Paul Gaultier, as well as a Maserati and Ferrari dealership.

“I was here eight months ago and I thought to myself, there’s no way this place will be finished in time,” said an excited de la Renta, between greeting guests, one of whom was Melania Trump, who passed on dresses, but bought a $170 pair of sunglasses instead.

The new 1,500-square-foot store not only had several sales its first night, but was already bringing out back stock for several of the pieces. “I think we have enough inventory,” said de la Renta’s chief executive officer, Alex Bolen. While it’s only the third in the U.S., he said that the company has its sights set on Southern California next.

“Vegas has been a strong market for us with sales at Neiman Marcus, so we’re excited to be here,” said Bolen. “But Southern California is high on our list. If we could find the right place at South Coast Plaza, we’d like to be there.”

Manolo Blahnik, who arrived harried after a lunch with Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour, was also on hand to help christen only his second U.S. store, which almost didn’t make it into the ritzy retail corridor, thanks to a gaffe between Steve Wynn and himself.

“We started calling [Manolo] a couple of years ago, but we couldn’t get a call back,” said Elaine Wynn, who was instrumental in bringing many of the retailers to the resort she helped design with her husband. “It turns out that he didn’t know who Steve was.”

This story first appeared in the May 3, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“It really did not register at first,” said Blahnik of the communication gone awry. “I had a preconceived idea about Vegas, but this [hotel] is really very elegant and a great surprise. This is the American dream, is it not?”

On whether he, too, was considering a Southern California outpost, Blahnik said: “Why open in Los Angeles when we have Neiman Marcus?”

Wintour, who was on hand in her 4-inch Blahniks to support Blahnik, was equally enthralled with the new resort and shops. “I think it’s absolutely amazing here,” she said. “There’s something for everyone and the quality of the store is just gorgeous.”

And as one would expect of the Vogue editor, she managed to squeeze in a little shopping, as well — but for her daughter, Bee Shaffer, who tried on a flashy pair of gold Manolos dripping in crystals. “Why not,” said Shaffer. “It’s Las Vegas.”

Perfumer Jo Malone, who opened her third U.S. shop in the U.S., also couldn’t resist squeezing in a little shopping at Jean Paul Gaultier.

“Steve Wynn doesn’t just hit the bar, he raises it,” said Malone, who cut the ribbon for her new store along with Estée Lauder Cos. chairman Leonard Lauder. “The excitement here makes me feel like I’m five years old again.”

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