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Ruiz de la Prada Brings Bold Palette to U.S.

Don't tell Agatha Ruiz de la Prada that black is back.

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NEW YORK — Don’t tell Agatha Ruiz de la Prada that black is back.

The Spanish designer, who in the fall plans to open a 2,000-square-foot store at 135 Wooster Street in SoHo here, has never met a color she didn’t like. The boutique will be the first in the U.S. for Ruiz de la Prada, who puts her bold, colorful stamp on products from women’s and children’s clothing to dog beds to toothbrushes.

Already well known in Europe where she operates stores in Madrid, Paris, Milan, The Hague and Barcelona, Ruiz de la Prada said she is exploring opportunities in China.

“The New York store has very big and important implications,” Ruiz de la Prada said in a telephone interview from her vacation home in Majorca. “It’s more important for me than Paris. I opened in Paris first because it’s easier to go to New York if you’re already recognized in Europe.”

Ruiz de la Prada may become a more familiar name in the U.S. sooner rather than later. The designer has a deal with Target to sell her Agua perfume in 1,400 of its stores and indicated that she might sell other products to the mass merchant.

Ruiz de la Prada said she has worked with some 50 companies. For Swatch, she designed timepieces presented at the Atlanta Olympic games in 1996. El Corte Ingles, the Spanish department store chain, commissioned a collection of her clothing, jewelry and housewares.

The designer is also active in the Spanish art scene, exhibiting at Madrid’s museums and galleries. When she opened her store in Madrid in 1993, the designer initiated cultural discussions with intellectuals, artists and writers, dubbing the events “Famous Thursdays.’’

She is continuously adding products and exploring new categories.

“I want to do everything,” Ruiz de la Prada said. “People ask, ‘Do you want to do a restaurant, a hotel?’ My problem is I can’t say no. Now that I am beginning to get a little older I’m trying to improve the quality of my merchandise. I’m trying to do fewer things better instead of a lot of things.”

This story first appeared in the July 21, 2005 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

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