American clothing brand Banana Republic celebrated the arrival of its first store in France with a launch party attended by the crème-de-la-crème of the fashion industry.

The inauguration party on Wednesday was attended by a host of French celebrities, including actress Mélanie Thierry and television presenter and actor Antoine de Caunes. In addition, the event was also attended by Stephen Sunnucks, president of Gap Inc.'s international division and Charles Rivkin, the U.S. ambassador to France. The gala event also included glam models dressed in exclusive Banana Republic couture, posing on a central platform.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the newly launched brand has hired salespeople from sister brand Gap's Paris stores and trained them as personal shoppers - a move that could help set it apart from local competitors like Kookai and Inditex's Massimo Dutti chain.

The brand's flagship store in Paris is located on the Avenue des Champs Élysées, which also houses other high-end brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Abercrombie & Fitch.

We are thrilled to open our first Banana Republic store in France - a brand-building flagship in Paris - and reach yet another important milestone for our international growth strategy, stated Sunnucks.

With a growing base of loyal customers across Europe, both in our stores and online, we're confident that shoppers in Paris will have a strong appetite for Banana Republic's proposition of affordable luxury, as we open at this special time in the lead up to the holiday shopping period, he added.

The store is part of Gap Inc.'s ongoing strategy to expand into new markets around the world. In 2010, the company opened its first Banana Republic store in Milan, Italy and also made its available to European customers online, through the launch of its dedicated e-commerce site - www.bananarepublic.eu, which now services 21 European countries.