NEW YORK — If making it in the biggest U.S. city is a measure of success in the fashion industry, then count Carlos Miele in.
The Brazilian designer is poised to launch his secondary line, Miele by Carlos Miele, in 14 Saks Fifth Avenue locations in January. His main collection bowed at Saks two years ago and is now also sold at Neiman Marcus and at specialty boutiques.
Miele, who plans to make New York his base, is putting the finishing touches on his new residence in the Porter House on Ninth Avenue and 15th Street. From his private roof garden, he can look out onto West 14th Street and see his flagship.
"New York is the most international city," he said. "It's a great window to America and the rest of the world."
Miele's business is projected to do $130 million in sales this year and he's ready to take the business to the next level.
"I'm selling to more countries," he said. "Once I get to a certain size I can start an advertising campaign. Then you're really in the game. I need to do more volume."
Miele's vehicle for growing volume is the secondary line, which is estimated to do sales of $25 million to $30 million in the U.S. next year.
"I've been selling the secondary line successfully in Brazil for some time," Miele said, sitting on a bright red felt chair in his apartment across from a signed Isamu Noguchi coffee table. "It's a natural way for me to reach more people and grow the business. It will be easier to expand in the U.S. with the secondary line. There are a lot of cities where I could open stores."
Miele is known for sexy dresses and gowns, which are priced from $3,000, and are often decorated with crochet, beading and fuxico, a Brazilian technique for fabric decoration. Price points for the secondary line range from $150 to $250 for denim to $500 for dresses. Hand-knits and crocheted sweaters are $250 to $350.
In November, Miele will open the first store dedicated to the secondary line in the Leblon section of Rio de Janeiro. "It's going to be a lab," he said.
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