Brandolini Gets Cozy in Paris

Ever wonder what Georgina Brandolini's closet looks like?

PARIS — Ever wonder what Georgina Brandolini’s closet looks like?

Probably a lot like her new boutique here, which is not much bigger than a walk-in wardrobe and stuffed with the chic items that make up her understated personal style.

“It’s tiny, but cute, no?” she asked on a chilly morning here, nuzzling the collar of her fur vest. “It’s everything I would wear.”

The 215-square-foot shop, tucked between Kenzo and Paul Smith at 16 Boulevard Raspail, is the first Paris showcase for Brandolini’s signature line of evening sweaters, which she launched in 2003 after 22 years at Valentino and five at Balmain.

Already, her best-selling item is a cashmere and silk sweater with silk satin collars and cuffs that retails for 350 euros, or about $412 at current exchange. Sweater prices run up to 615 euros, or about $725.

But customers can assemble complete outfits à la Brandolini. The boutique stocks everything from her favorite brand of Brazilian jeans — Ellus — to knitted mink jackets and quirky raffia handbags decorated with pom-poms. There are even some killer heels from her friend Christian Louboutin, who has a boutique on nearby Rue de Grenelle.

“I like this district,” Brandolini said. “Plus, I think you have to have a point of sale.”

Like many Paris-based designers, Brandolini has no French wholesale clients, although she has sold directly to a local clientele at her commercial showroom.

She said the boutique, however petite, would be a showcase to raise her brand’s profile and perhaps attract the interest of other retailers and business partners. “If it goes well, I’d like to open another on the Right Bank,” she noted.

At present, Brandolini sells her collection to about a dozen wholesale accounts, including Takashimaya and Betsey Ross in New York; Tuberose in Palm Beach, Fla.; Stanley Korshak in Dallas; Saks Jandel in Washington, and Daslu in São Paulo, Brazil.

Brandolini said she plans to expand her line to include gift items, more sweaters for day and eventually other garments to wear with them. Her boutique, for example, features tuxedo pants with satin stripes and a cummerbund.

This story first appeared in the November 10, 2005 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“It’s for the woman who comes in to the shop and says, ‘What do I put underneath?’” she explained. “Not everyone wears jeans.”