Boucheron Celebrates a Face-Lift – The New York Times

PARIS — On a dark and bitterly cold January night this week, hundreds of guests in black tie, fur and assorted diamonds and emeralds descended upon the Place Vendôme, lit by the flames of scores of flickering candles set on the pavement.

The reason for the celebration? The official unveiling of 26 Place Vendôme, the flagship boutique of the French jeweler Boucheron following a multiyear, multimillion-euro refurbishment. And those who came through the doors on Monday were dazzled by more than just the light.

Set across six floors, the Hôtel de Nocé, as it is formally known, includes a winter garden with a soaring glass roof and green marble floor, a bridal room, an horology room and a research library, plus a state-of-the-art gems suite where clients can examine loose stones. The house’s jewelry workshops and design studio were moved to the site, and there is a large, new one-bedroom apartment with Eiffel Tower views, where the V.I.C.s, or “Very Important Clients,” can stay (served 24/7 by a butler from the Ritz hotel, just across the square).

“You can’t say that you are reinventing a maison for the future if your flagship is 15 years old; a partial face-lift at this point would not have cut it,” Ms. Poulit-Duquesne said the day after the soirée, as she sat in the Salon Chinois. A small ground-floor room with carmine-red walls and 19th-century furniture, it was a sanctuary from the hive of activity that was the Grand Salon salesroom nearby. “Besides, this place is much more than just a boutique,” she added, “it is part of our heritage, and a celebration of our 160th anniversary. More than that, it is also our home.”

Kering, the parent group controlled by the billionaire Pinault family, which acquired Boucheron in 2000, ensured the space would be impressive but also welcoming. Pierre-Yves Rochon, decorator of hotels including the Four Seasons George V in Paris and the Peninsula in Shanghai, designed the interiors, replacing many of the usual sales desks with round tables. A quirky black and white digital portrait of the house’s founder, Frédéric Boucheron, with mischievous eyes that seem to follow guests as they walk past, hangs on the grand staircase wall. And sales personnel wear a more colorful and contemporary wardrobe — pieces like silk blouses and dresses with vibrant swirls from the Paris shop Fête Impériale — instead of conventional dark uniforms.

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