By  on November 20, 2007

Milan — Marni aficionados now can splurge on clothes and accessories by merely crossing a cobblestoned courtyard.

The Italian fashion house on Wednesday will inaugurate its first accessories unit, a small yet distinctive 432-square-foot space facing the brand's clothing store that is tucked inside a courtyard on Via della Spiga here.

Marni has plans to open an accessories shop-in-shop at Neiman Marcus in San Francisco and one in Moscow's Tsum department store, both in February.

Designer Consuelo Castiglioni worked closely with architecture firm Sybarite to create an out-of-the-ordinary shopping ambience that is intended to enhance Marni's quirky accessories.

"The last few accessories collections have developed a more independent dimension compared to the apparel, even in terms of sales," said Gianni Castiglioni, Marni chief executive officer. "That's why Consuelo and Sybarite developed a new concept that focuses on the accessories, but also enhances the clothes."

Castiglioni declined to provide sales projections, but acknowledged that accessories is a fast-growing category for the brand that accounts for 30 percent of sales.

The long and narrow, one-window space features pearl gray lacquered walls and ceiling interspersed with backlit fiberglass niches in different sizes.

The cases are individually designed to accommodate sunglasses, bags, shoes and costume jewelry, a new collection designed exclusively for the store.

Three central bamboo stools sprout out like mushrooms from a beige carpeted floor. Planted in a slanted limbo at the end of the store is a crop of custom-made natural-finish fiberglass mannequins displayed in an abstract composition.

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