BEVERLY HILLS — It’s a Hollywood comeback story.

Some 30 years after business feuds with partners and an army draft forced Donald Pliner to shutter his first-ever boutique here in the Seventies, the footwear, clothing and accessories designer returned to open a 4,300-square-foot flagship on 444 North Camden Drive.

To celebrate, Pliner spent $850,000 on a round of parties and events last week that culminated with a bash above the store on Sept. 24.

“For me, this was major,” said Pliner. “I lost everything and started all over again. My dream was to open a shop of my own in Beverly Hills. This is my dream come true, even though it took 16 years to do it.”

Party goers came out en masse to see the spectacle: a rooftop jungle lounge with cabanas, drag queens and nude models spotted like leopards. A DJ pumped hip-hop and old soul tunes, while two manned motorcycles roared inside a 30-foot-high iron “globe of death” on three separate occasions throughout the night.

Mark Wahlberg attended on behalf of his charity, the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation, while Carmen Electra, Carmen Kass and Tatiana von Furstenberg also turned out. Latecomer Matthew Perry waited patiently downstairs, entertained by a gospel choir and drummers until crowd-wary fire marshals finally gave the go-ahead.

It wasn’t just Hollywood luminaries who were interested, either. On Sept. 20, 200 pooches showed up for a trunk show benefiting the Friends of Baby Doll Pliner Collection, a line of clothing, leashes and accessories for the small-dog set.

“I did it as a little joke,” said Pliner of the canine collection, “but then changed my mind when I realized total sales of dog clothes, collars and leashes this year are expected to be $32 billion. We’re expecting a $5 million to $10 million business.”

Sixteen years ago, Pliner was $450,000 in debt. He now heads an operation that notched $75 million in sales last year through 450 retail accounts, including Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Since the early Nineties, the privately held shoe firm has expanded to include men’s and women’s clothing, handbags, hosiery, eyewear and belts — all available at the Beverly Hills store.Donald J Pliner and Donald J Pliner Collection for women feature Italian leather handbags between $400 to $900, leather jackets and shearlings from $700 to $2,000 and leather pants and leather skirts ranging from $700 to $1,000.“Surprisingly, Los Angeles is one of my hardest markets in the whole country because I’m so heavily saturated here in department stores,” said Pliner.

That said, Pliner expects the Beverly Hills unit to provide broad exposure for the wholesale line and projects between $3 million and $5 million in sales its first year.

Two more company-owned stores are set to bow in Las Vegas and New York by 2005, adding to three Donald J Pliner franchises currently operating in Chicago, Miami and San Jose, Calif., and two company-owned units in Houston and Coral Gables, Fla.

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