By  on December 18, 2008

Tommy Hilfiger USA Inc. is expanding its Miami footprint, opening a freestanding store in South Beach today.

Located at 616 Collins Avenue, the 4,450-square-foot store marks the brand’s second Miami boutique to open this year, following a store in Aventura Mall in June.

“Florida for over 20 years has been one of my best markets,” Hilfiger said. “We felt having a great location on Collins Avenue in South Beach would be good for the brand. It was designed to become more indigenous to the area — carefree, easy, eclectic, casually chic.”

The shop’s exterior channels South Beach’s historic Art Deco design, featuring a light blue facade with white trim, a front porch and bougainvillea cascading from the rooftop.

The courtyard boasts the brand’s first surf shop, a 700-square-foot store carrying Tommy Hilfiger licensed swimwear, flip-flops, sunglasses and towels, as well as vintage surfboards.

“When we went to design this store, it gave us an opportunity to take advantage of the local flavor in South Beach,” said Gary Sheinbaum, president of retail.

Inside the main store, the first floor houses women’s and men’s U.S. and European sportswear. The second floor carries the Tommy Hilfiger runway collections. Throughout the two-story shop, high-end vintage clothing from prominent designers, such as Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent, is also sold.

The floors feature terrazzo with nickel inlay and crisp white resin, and the white oak walls have white tufted leather and hand-carved plaster relief panels. A 14-foot cylindrical fish tank with exotic fish stands in the center, surrounded by a mirror and white marble countertop.

The company declined to project first-year sales of the South Beach store.

To fete the brand’s Miami ties, Hilfiger cohosted a party with Vanity Fair during Art Basel earlier this month.

The South Beach store is Tommy Hilfiger’s ninth freestanding unit in the U.S., following the Aventura Mall door, three stores in Manhattan, and one each in Westchester County, N.Y.; Washington, D.C.; Las Vegas, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. The company is also opening a flagship on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan this spring, and continues to scout for additional openings.

“We really are going to stay the course,” said Sheinbaum. “We’re being selective. With these challenging times, some interesting opportunities may come up.”

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