PARIS — Viktor & Rolf, who are returning to the couture here next month after a 13-year absence, is also planting retail roots in Paris.

This story first appeared in the June 14, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The Dutch design duo of Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren said Thursday they would open a 5,400-square-foot flagship at 370 Rue Saint-Honoré, previously an Anne Fontaine location.

The two-level unit, in partnership with Staff International, part of Viktor & Rolf parent OTB SpA, is scheduled to open in the fall. It is to house ready-to-wear, bags, shoes, accessories, eyewear and fragrances for women and men.

“We are very much working on the store concept,” Horsting said in a phone interview from the duo’s Amsterdam design studio, noting they are collaborating with the Paris-based firm Architecture & Associés.

The designer said the French capital was an obvious choice for the retail volley: “We consider Paris to be our fashion home. It’s where we started 20 years ago. Paris is still the symbol of fashion.”

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He noted that the new boutique would set the template for future units in other major cities.

Viktor & Rolf joins a burgeoning retail strip in Paris that has recently sprouted boutiques including Balenciaga, Chloé, Theory, & Other Stories and Dior Parfums.

The designers are preparing to celebrate their 20th anniversary in fashion, and recently opened a new Paris showroom in a historic townhouse on the tony Avenue d’Iéna.

The designers opened their first signature shop in 2005 on Milan’s Via Sant’Andrea with then partner Gibò SpA. That 750-square-foot unit — with a kooky upside-down decor featuring oak parquet on the ceiling and chandeliers sprouting out of the floors — closed in 2008, the year Italian entrepreneur Renzo Rosso took a controlling stake in Viktor & Rolf through his holding company OTB.

Staff International produces and distributes 50 collections, including Maison Martin Margiela, Dsquared2, Marc Jacobs, Just Cavalli and Vivienne Westwood Red Label. The firm finished 2012 with consolidated revenues of 300 million euros, or $385.7 million at average exchange, exporting 80 percent of its production.

The retail division of Staff counts 120 stores worldwide, including directly operated ones and franchises. The group expects to open 37 additional monobrand stores by the end of the year.

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