NEW YORK — Juicy Couture’s first Manhattan store is all about a sense of humor.

There is the seriousness of the dark wood floors and the dark gray and deep purple painted walls, but that’s about all that’s low-key about the 2,400-square-foot store, set to open on Thursday.

In true Juicy Couture form, there’s the great sense of fun for which founders Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Taylor are known. There are plenty of kitschy T-shirts with sayings like “My dog is cuter than your dog” and “Go Couture Yourself.” There is also sparkly jewelry and metallic shoes and handbags.

And it’s the items that aren’t for sale that could be the cutest things of all. Brightly colored gum balls in royal-looking glass jars and plates piled with fake cupcakes sit on the large display table in the center of the store at 103 Fifth Avenue here. There are also two large framed photos on one wall of women dressed as Olde English royalty. If one looks close enough, the faces of the women in the photos are Skaist-Levy and Taylor.

“This store is our evolution in motion. We are trying new things and having fun with it,” Taylor explained. “It’s that whole English manor-house feeling mixed with that California lifestyle and our sense of humor.”

The Fifth Avenue store carries only women’s apparel and accessories. When walking into the store, bright pink painted dressing rooms in the back of the space catch the eye immediately. The dressing rooms are decorated with girly pink and white wallpaper and vanity-like furniture, mixed with a rock ’n’ roll feeling of album covers on the walls.

Taylor said while the store’s design will be used for other Juicy stores in New York, it isn’t a template that will be set in stone for the brand.

“Everyone wants a slightly different experience when they shop,” she said. “So we plan to make a lot of different elements unique to the stores they are in.”

A Juicy spokeswoman declined to give a first-year sales projection for the store.

The unit is just one of four Manhattan stores the company plans to open. A 3,400-square-foot New York flagship will open this fall at 368 Bleecker Street and will house the entire Juicy offering from men’s, women’s and children’s wear to the high-end Couture Couture line and an array of accessories. A 4,000-square-foot unit at 860 Madison Avenue also will open in the fall and will carry the full selection of products. The company currently is scouting locations for a fourth store.

This story first appeared in the June 21, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

In addition, the brand will add 14 more locations around the world, beginning in the fall. Already planned are stores in Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Santa Clara and Newport Beach, Calif.; Boston; Honolulu and Waikiki, Hawaii; Orlando and Coral Gables, Fla.; San Antonio, and Atlantic City. It also plans units in Milan and London. The stores will add to the company’s Las Vegas, Dallas, Atlanta, Tokyo, White Plains, N.Y., and Scottsdale, Ariz., locations.

Juicy Couture has been on an aggressive growth track the past couple of years. When Liz Claiborne Inc. acquired the Los Angeles-based tracksuit company in March 2003, it paid $47 million for the company. Today, Juicy Couture has become a $300 million brand. Soon, the company plans to launch a collection of baby clothes, cosmetics and home products to add to the Juicy lifestyle that already includes watches, shoes, swimwear, fragrance and a slew of other accessories.

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