By  on May 18, 2007

PARIS — Milan Vukmirovic, the former Jil Sander designer and onetime creative director for hip Paris store Colette, is jumping back into the retail game.

Vukmirovic told WWD that he and two French partners plan to open a 20,000-square-foot "luxury concept store" in Miami Beach by late this year.

"I was itching to do another boutique — but to do it differently, devoted to a new idea and meant for a different time," said Vukmirovic, who is also the editor in chief of Paris men's monthly L'Officiel Hommes, a post he will continue.

Vukmirovic, known for his relaxed-chic style and impeccable manners, said the store, which has yet to be named, would be housed in a 1939 Art Deco house on Collins Avenue that he and his partners purchased last year.

"It's going to be long on luxury, with one-of-a-kind pieces, limited editions and a real accent on service," he explained. "Ultratrendy isn't exactly what we want to aim for."

As to be expected, Vukmir­ovic, who helped define Colette's voice when it opened a decade ago with a mix of young designers with more established labels, plans on assuring all the store's creative aspects. He has struck a deal for Caviar Kaspia, the Paris eatery, to open its first franchise overseas.

His partners — Laure Hériard Dubreuil, a marketing and merchandising alum from Yves Saint Laurent and Balenciaga, and Frédéric Dechnik, who headed men's and women's merchandising at Yves Saint Laurent — will oversee the store's management.

Vukmirovic, who said it was too early to give first-year sales projections, said he and his partners invested $12 million in the project.

"We really felt that there was a place in the market for a luxury store in Miami Beach, with all that's going on in the city, the art fairs and the hotels," he said.

Vukmirovic said they hoped to eventually open additional stores in smaller U.S. cities.

"We wouldn't want to open another Maxfield in Los Angeles or open in Manhattan. Those markets are saturated. But there are other cities in the United States that are developing and are very interesting."Meanwhile, Vukmirovic said he hasn't lost the urge to create product. To wit: In July, he will unveil a watch collection he collaborated on with high-end Swiss manufacturer Jaquet Droz, which is part of Swatch Group.

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