BERLIN — In a move to grow its German business and update the brand’s fashion image here, Moschino has opened its first German flagship in Berlin.

The 1,700-square-foot store features the Moschino women’s line, Moschino Cheap and Chic and corresponding accessories collections. It is located in the Quartier 206 passage on Friedrichstrasse, which also housesGucci, YSL, Etro, Cerruti and Strenesse boutiques, as well as the luxury specialty store, Quartier 206 Departmentstore.

This is Moschino’s 25th single-brand store, and it is a joint venture with its German distributor, Richard Aschauer. Designed by Sean Dix, the open, one-level retail space makes use of typical Moschino interior elements: glass-slipper chandeliers, metal lace walls, walls printed with excerpts from "The Emperor’s New Clothes," glass showcases emblazoned with photos of a baroque chest of drawers, and layers of bright red felt.

"Red is good feng shui," Aschauer remarked. And as far as the merchandise goes, "what we learned in the first day is: the more typically Moschino it is, the better." Hot sellers have included accented and embellished jackets from the Moschino signature collection. The store manager said that the jackets were 80 percent sold out on the first weekend at the end of October. Counter to expectations, Moschino outpaced Cheap and Chic in Berlin.

Germany generates about 4 to 5 percent of Moschino sales, said Marco Gobbetti, chief executive officer. "But we could do a lot more. Moschino’s new message hasn’t really come across here.

"Lots of people [in Germany] still believe Moschino means jackets with forks and knives and big belts with the Moschino name. But Moschino is a modern product with a bit of a difference, and in these times particularly, there’s a need for something special." Spring orders were strong, and he said they would be ahead about 25 to 30 percent for the season.

Nevertheless, he acknowledged that Germany is a tough market. "We know it’s a market in recession, but you have to think if not in the long term, then at least in the medium term. Otherwise, we would stop doing everything. Japan has been on the brink of recession for years and our business there continues to grow significantly," he pointed out."We agree it’s a bit of a gamble in Berlin," he continued, referring to the bankrupt city’s sluggish retail environment. "But it’s the capital, not only politically, but in terms of excitement, and we would have felt strange if we’d opened elsewhere in Germany first."

Gobbetti set the Berlin store’s first-year-sales goal at about $1.7 million. Dollar figures are calculated from the euro at current exchange rates.

"And if business continues the way it’s started, we won’t be far off target," he said.

Gobbetti stressed that Moschino "doesn’t aim to be a retailer. Our strategy is not to have 200 stores." Still,the company does have Paris in its immediate sights, and plans to open a freestanding store on Rue de Grenelle next spring, he said.

Spring will also see a new Moschino headquarters near Piazza della Republica in Milan. "It’s big news for us, because it means we will finally all be together in one building: press, sales and showrooms. It’ll make it much easier for us to work together," Gobbetti concluded.

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