By  on March 7, 2006

MIAMI — Dolce & Gabbana is keeping closer tabs on Miami's luxury market.

Following a big celebration in Milan, the fashion house decided to stage the initial U.S. portion of its 20th-anniversary festivities here after the recent opening of its expanded store at Bal Harbour Shops and the release of its retrospective tome, "20 Years Dolce & Gabbana."

Describing Miami business as "fantastic," Glenn McMahon, president of Dolce & Gabbana USA, said the Bal Harbour location ranked third in sales behind New York and Los Angeles. Expansion to 3,200 square feet — an increase of about 25 percent — was necessary to accommodate a booming men's wear business, he said, adding that the presentation of women's accessories significantly improved as well.

"Miami is very important to us because it continues to enjoy double-digit increases," McMahon said.

Collaborating again with interior designer Ferruccio Laviani, who orchestrated the original renovation in 2004, the company created a separate men's wear room in the store's existing materials of black and smoked glass, contrasting with lacquered walnut wood fixtures and stone, and crystal chandeliers in black Murano glass. From the fully displayed men's collection, key spring sellers are a black suit with chalk stripes for $2,050, a black blazer with navy and silver stripes for $895 and jeans with a pink Asian print for $675.

The women's selling space jumped from 1,800 to 2,300 square feet for better representation of eveningwear, intimates and swimwear. Top spring looks included a chiffon dress in a black and green floral print for $3,950, a jacket in brown grain leather with a leopard-printed lining for $2,995, and a leather and lace handbag in black or white for $1,750. "Shoes perform consistently well as a category, and floral patterns have done well in all divisions," said McMahon.

During a comprehensive tour of company-owned stores, McMahon cohosted an intimate 20th-anniversary dinner party at Miami Beach's Casa Tua restaurant in mid-February with its owners, Michele and Leticia Grendene, and former Dolce & Gabbana model and muse Elsa Benitez.

"The timing was right for the event," said McMahon, flanked by Leticia Grendene in spring 2006's black floral blouse with green satin piping and matching black floral and lace skirt, and Benitez in fall 2005's long-sleeved minidress in tan chiffon with Swarovski crystals. Nightlife entrepreneur Ingrid Casares opted for a cleaner homage with a black tuxedo pantsuit and camisole in white satin from the spring 2006 collection.The Italian-themed evening, which began with bellinis, stayed authentic with a repast of carpaccio, risotto and tiramisu. There were runners of red rose petals in lieu of obtrusive centerpieces, and the Italian-American guests included interior designer Christopher Ciccone, Madonna's brother. Guests also caught a glimpse of Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana's anthology with candid, firsthand accounts, fashion sketches, and well-documented photographs of advertising campaigns, editorials and backstage snaps from fashion shows.

"We plan to conduct celebrations with some of our key retail partners throughout March in Los Angeles and San Francisco," McMahon said.

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