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PARIS — Taking its fine jewelry business to a new pinnacle, Louis Vuitton plans to open a flagship in Place Vendôme here.

This story first appeared in the September 17, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“It’s a corner location with incredible windows,” said Philippe Schaus, Vuitton’s executive vice president.

The two-level unit, with about 1,600 square feet of retail space, is slated to open at number 23 late next year, joining such storied jewelry houses as Boucheron, Van Cleef & Arpels, Chaumet and Mauboussin in the picturesque square, also home to the Ritz hotel.

Schaus said architect Peter Marino would be charged with creating “an extremely luxurious space and creating a worldwide window for the brand. We will spare no effort to make this one of the most beautiful jewelry stores in the world.”

While the boutique’s exact configuration has yet to be determined, Schaus said it would house several VIP salons, plus a workshop on the top floor that can do adjustments, repairs or personalize jewelry.

The focus will be on high jewelry, some of which runs into the seven figures, along with “medium price” fine jewelry and Vuitton’s watch collection.

Having a Place Vendôme presence will help “cement the credibility we are building in this category,” Schaus said.

Vuitton first dipped a toe into fine jewelry about a decade ago with a charm bracelet by creative director Marc Jacobs, and has been steadily expanding its product offering and building its design codes, including several trademark diamond cuts echoing shapes on its famous monogram canvas.

Last year, the French firm tapped Place Vendôme veteran Lorenz Bäumer as artistic director of fine jewelry. His second high jewelry collection for Vuitton is showcased at the Biennale des Antiquaires here.

Vuitton counts 453 stores in the world. About half carry watches, 65 offer jewelry collections and a “handful” showcase high jewelry pieces, Schaus said.

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