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"We had several christenings already," joked Louis Vuitton North America president Daniel Lalonde, referring to inadvertently smashed Champagne flutes at the reception.
New England Patriots linebacker Adalius Thomas and tight end Benjamin Watson mingled along with Boston Celtics owner Wycliffe "Wyc" Grousbeck and his wife, Corrine. Several women carried the Richard Prince handbags from the spring collection (Lalonde read off a few of the jokes printed onto the bag's monogrammed canvas).
The renovated 7,200-square-foot space — more than double the original size — is designated a global store because it carries the full range of branded product for both men and women.
Asked about the brand's upcoming fall show in Paris, Philippe Schaus, senior vice president of Louis Vuitton International, said he's feeling the usual blend of excitement and nerves.
"I always get nervous," he said, adding that the senior management team gets a teaser of creative director Marc Jacobs' plans in the months before the show. "It's a powerful statement for our brand and is a big influence on brand positioning....We never get a complete preview, but we'll see elements."
He said the Louis Vuitton team follows Jacobs' New York work, but rarely has time to attend Marc Jacobs shows because of the workload leading up to the Paris presentation.
After the cocktail party, VIP guests headed to the Mandarin Oriental, the five-star hotel that is to open next year. Event planners turned the raw space into a branded world, complete with projected LV logos and handbags strung from ceiling chains.
"Any woman who gets on the table to grab for a handbag keeps what she gets," Lalonde said.
The table was mirrored and the handbags were far above reasonable reach. Lots of temptation, but no takers.