By  on May 31, 2007

MIAMI — Chloé is ready to party.

That's the word from Karin Gregersen, the house's newly appointed managing director and executive vice president of U.S. operations, who officially starts mid-June after relocating to New York from Paris, where she has served as sales and marketing director for eight years. First up for its string of soirees was the opening of a boutique at Bal Harbour Shops, the third U.S. store following New York and Costa Mesa, Calif.

Gregersen attended the event wearing a vintage Chloé minidress in off-white silk crepe with Moroccan embroidery, an outfit she insisted wasn't intentional.

"There was nothing new left in this store to wear. It was all sold out," she said of hot items like embellished dresses, retro square sunglasses in white or red with gold accents, and Paddington and Bay handbags. "I was surprised at how much ready-to-wear sold immediately and not necessarily sexy 'Miami' stuff. We tried desperately to get more merchandise for the party."

With just over 2,000 square feet of selling space, Bal Harbour isn't the largest Chloé location, as some stores go up to 4,000 square feet, according to Gregersen. But it does offer the most updated decor, which Madison Avenue's store also will have once its renovation is completed, along with new branches in Los Angeles, due by year's end, and in Las Vegas, slated to open in 2008. British architect Sophie Hicks devised an open, pastel design of pink, eggshell and gold with lots of windows.

"We wanted to break away from the dark days of Gucci and YSL," said Gregersen, adding the juxtaposition of noble and rough materials like marble and plywood captures the brand's DNA. "It's a metaphor for our soft, feminine clothing versus hard, edgy accessories."

Beyond the core collection, Bal Harbour stocks more sunglasses and swimwear. Gregersen reported it will be another six to eight months before individual boutiques unveil exclusive pieces, as the company currently focuses on building its general brand, her primary order of business.

"We had only one U.S. store for a long time, so we need to develop a strong retail strategy," she said, emphasizing growth doesn't translate to mega-stores. "Our goal is to keep boutiques at a 'human' size."Other immediate plans include strengthening partnerships with department stores and increasing visibility through more events such as a possible party honoring designer Paulo Melim Andersson in conjunction with Art Basel Miami Beach in December.

"We're all about parties and more parties," Gregersen said.

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