NEW SITE: Céline advertised around Los Angeles that its new Rodeo Drive store was coming in March, and the brand got it right under the wire. Céline’s 3,100-square-foot location at 319 North Rodeo Drive opened Saturday, marking the brand’s return to the luxury thoroughfare after an absence of several years. The store’s design adheres to Céline creative director Phoebe Philo’s minimalist aesthetic with sparse decoration; a narrow interior palette of mostly whites, grays and beiges, and a highly edited display of merchandise. A large seafoam-colored divider, which offers a rare pop of color not on the merchandise, separates the store into two parts: the front has two racks of ready-to-wear and handbags lining the walls, and the back has shoes and another rtw rack. Although Céline has been relatively quiet about its opening on Rodeo — its third U.S. store — customers have certainly found it. On Tuesday afternoon, the store was busy with tourists inquiring about Céline’s handbags. The crowd was a good sign for Céline’s owner LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, which has invested heavily in Rodeo Drive. Last year, the company bought the roughly 7,000-square-foot building housing Céline as well as the neighboring Montblanc store for an estimated $85 million, an amount that’s believed to be one of the highest prices paid per square foot, if not the highest, on the street.

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This story first appeared in the April 3, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.