By  on September 10, 2007

Curved walls, mirrored counters and backlit glass walls contribute to the spaceship design and futuristic mood of the first Just Cavalli boutique in New York, which opened Friday.

Located on Fifth Avenue next to the Gucci store and covering 4,527 square feet on two floors, the boutique was designed by Italian architect Italo Rota, who also worked on the Just Cavalli store in Milan's Via Spiga, which opened two years ago.

"I adore airy stores with a lot of light, because they enhance the beauty of the prints and the style of the clothes," said Roberto Cavalli, referring to the use of glass and lighting in the new store.

Take as examples the store's light beams and fiber-optic light terminals that create a "starlit galaxy" on the ceiling, or the oversize chandelier shaped as a snake — an iconic Cavalli image — that dominates the entrance. The designer was especially enthusiastic about the opening of the store, given his passion for all things American and his most recent efforts to differentiate the Just Cavalli line, which was launched in 1997 as a younger denim-based collection.

"I really care about this project. As my signature line has been evolving into a more sophisticated brand, Just Cavalli is more and more similar to what the Roberto Cavalli line was originally," said the designer. Cavalli has been steering the Just Cavalli collection to become a more complete and sartorial line, with more daywear pieces, moving away from the young, sexy, free-spirited rock 'n' roll theme of the past.

The designer underscored the commercial value of the Just Cavalli line, noting sales have been growing 25 percent each season.

For the opening Friday, Cavalli tapped English light designer and set decorator Simon Costin. LED lighting effects and floral decorations were devised by Costin in line with the futuristic and extraterrestrial concept of the design project. He mixed real flowers with fabric ones in glass and steel vases especially designed for the store.

Cavalli, who manages two Just Cavalli Cafés and Restaurants in Milan, said he is aiming to open a restaurant in New York. The upcoming boutique in Paris, which will open at the end of September, will also feature a small restaurant. There are currently 26 Just Cavalli boutiques around the world and next year the company plans to open boutiques in Boca Raton, Fla.; San Diego; Atlantic City, N.J.; Beijing, and Macau. The designer said he is in talks to open a Just Cavalli boutique in London, as well.There are five Just Cavalli boutiques in the U.S., and the collection is available at more than 270 points of sale in America, including Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom. Just Cavalli is produced under license by IT Holding's manufacturing arm, Ittierre.

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