By  on January 23, 2006

Gianfranco Ferré and Blumarine recently opened stores here, a further sign of this city’s growing importance as a designer retail market.Helping to dismiss recent speculation about conflicts with the owner of his brand, designer Gianfranco Ferré last week made an appearance at the inauguration of his first boutique here, flanked by Massimo Macchi, chief executive officer of Ferré, and Tonino Perna, chairman of IT Holding, which owns the designer brand. “Mr. Ferré was checking each single item, details and displays in the store until three in the morning,” said Perna, waving away any misunderstanding and eager to show his support for the designer. “He is an inspiration and an example for all of us.” Macchi said Ferré was a “genius.” Perna said IT Holding invested 1.5 million euros, or $1.8 million at current exchange, in the boutique, located in Palazzo Navone, a 16th-century Renaissance building in Via della Vigna Nuova, off central Via Tornabuoni. Nestled between the Gucci and Roberto Cavalli shops and the iconic Giacosa cafe, the Florence boutique is Ferré’s eighth directly owned store and the 65th one for the brand worldwide.For complete coverage, see tomorrow’s WWD.

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