BEVERLY HILLS — Cerruti takes its next step toward securing its Hollywood presence with a celebrity-attended opening tonight at its new Rodeo Drive flagship.
This story first appeared in the May 13, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
It’s also the first public turn for the Italian house’s new chief women’s wear designer, Los Angeles-based David Cardona, who will be acting as host to confirmed guests, including actors Kelly Lynch, Alec Baldwin and Rosanna Arquette. (The event benefits OPCC, a network of shelters and services for low-income families and youths, and women who are battered or homeless and mentally ill.)
The narrow, 1,000-square-foot unit at 449 North Rodeo Drive, is a study in compact minimalism (selling space and changing rooms are in 800 square feet) and a continuation of interior themes found throughout most of the company’s 220 stores.
Opposite the front door is a floor-to-ceiling mirror measuring 12 feet. Down the middle, display cases made by B&B Italia, filled with accessories and sweaters, are of a rich-brown African wengé wood and nod to Japanese and Art Deco streamlining and construction.
Beyond the storefront is a feature in any Rodeo Drive shop worth its salt: a private VIP room. Here, celebrities can be outfitted for the red carpet, stylists can pick through current collections for their clients, and costume designers can identify looks to include in TV and film wardrobes. Although Cerruti’s memorable cinema credits go back three decades (“Bonnie and Clyde,” “Pretty Woman,” and “Philadelphia”), the competition among fashion houses to dress actors on and off screen has only gotten fiercer in recent years.
Which is why the store is “part of Cerruti’s strategy of communication,” said its ceo, Massimo Caccialupi. “It is not so much for commercial reasons, but much more to have a point of reference for the Hollywood crowd.”
Still, a luxury store along this famous shopping street can bring in an estimated $800 to $1,000 a square foot. “If you’re Christian Dior or Prada, you’re doing extremely well, not so much if you’re a minor player,” observed Gilbert Dembo, president of Dembo & Associates, a local upscale commercial real estate agency that recently represented Brooks Bros. for its deal in the neighborhood.
Clearly, the new designer and store are a move to raise Cerruti’s role around town. Caccialupi, who arrived Saturday for the opening, made the trip to show his support for Cardona. “The space isn’t really big, but we see it as our first step,” the ceo said. “If the response is right, then we can find a larger shop later.”
Two more Cerruti stores are slated to open by year’s end, in Paris and Moscow.