By  on April 5, 2007

NEW YORK — The Meatpacking District is luring yet another international brand.

Iris, the Italian manufacturer of footwear for Marc Jacobs, Chloé, John Galliano, Paul Smith, Veronique Branquinho and Viktor & Rolf, has signed a lease for a 1,500-square-foot space at 827 Washington Street — its first U.S. unit. This comes a week after Ports 1961 announced it will open at 3 Ninth Avenue.

Iris is to launch in June, and the store is projected to do $2 million in first-year sales, said Niccolo Glisenti, the franchisee who will operate it.

Iris also has stores in Paris, London and Milan.

Gibò Co. SpA, the Italian subsidiary of Onward Kashiyama, took a controlling stake in Iris in 1995. Gibò also bought Joseph, one of the U.K.'s leading designer label retailers, the same year. The company has said that Iris and Joseph will be used to expand into new markets.

Glisenti, who signed a franchise agreement two months ago, owns a Seventh Avenue showroom, Niccolo, which features designers such as Antonio Berardi, Jacqueline Quinn, Marlena Maree, Alexa Wagner, Maria Pinto and Mary Jane.

Glisenti, who plans to open Iris stores in Los Angeles, Miami and Las Vegas, said he chose the Washington Street location because it's directly across the street from the Whitney Museum of American Art's proposed downtown location, to be designed by Renzo Piano. It's also next door to John Frieda's future salon, which is opening at 825 Washington Street.

"We picked the location because it was a little strategic," Glisenti said. "Uptown is impossible because Chloé has a store uptown. Marc Jacobs has a store in SoHo and stores on Bleecker Street. We don't want to have a war with anybody."

Another endorsement of the neighborhood is that "Christian Louboutin is doing particularly well on Horatio Street,'' Glisenti said. "On Saturdays and Sundays, you can't even open the door at Louboutin."

Architect Massimiliano Loca­telli of CLS will design the new Iris shop. He has worked with Malo and Missoni, and is responsible for the redesign of Valentino's Madison Avenue store. In addition, Locatelli created the upside-down shop for Viktor & Rolf in Milan. Glisenti said there will be no upside-down designs for Iris. "It will be very minimalistic, neutral colors with wood flooring, Cappellini lighting and a Le Corbusier-style couch," he said.

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