By  on November 21, 2007

DALLAS — Saltaire, a new women's clothing brand, wants to build a casual luxury business on the store it opened at NorthPark Center here.

The women's line was introduced this fall, extending a label that Seattle Pacific Industries launched more than 18 months ago for men. Saltaire women's styles are in 40 stores, including units of Bloomingdale's, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom. The men's line has built to 300 doors.

The Saltaire store carries both collections, aiming for a 35- to 55-year-old demographic with styles that lean toward contemporary but accommodate a bit of middle-aged spread. The company also opened a 2,100-square-foot Saltaire shop in August at Las Vegas' Fashion Show mall.

Priced around bridge, Saltaire is made of Italian fabrics selected for softness and comfort, said Michael Black, president.

"The women's line is just getting out at retail," Black said. "We look to our stores to be a marketing tool for the brand as far as imagery — how it looks, feels, smells and touches for the consumer in these high-volume malls. We think this will support the brand at Nordstrom or Neiman Marcus."

The Dallas store is designed for comfortable shopping. The air is scented, and there is a central sitting area with two sofas and a coffee table flanked by a turquoise glass water wall and the cash wrap, a minimal affair backed by a cool blue green wall and an unobtrusive logo.

The exterior is lined with slabs of Jerusalem stone, and the floor is limestone, Black noted.

The clothes address casual career and weekend wear with items such as topstitched twill pants, $198; sueded-silk camp shirts, $188; cashmere hoodies, $178, and a leather trenchcoat with a rabbit-fur collar, $1,298. The palette is mostly neutral with plenty of black, khaki and ivory, but tops pop with hues such as turquoise, red and fuchsia.

Culti's bath, body and home wares also are offered, including unusual cashmere spheres that diffuse room fragrance in citrus, pine, vanilla or cinnamon.

Saltaire wants to open three to five stores a year.

"Next, we'll be looking into Florida and at the West Coast," Black said, citing Miami; Orange County, Calif., and Scottsdale, Ariz. He declined to estimate revenue for the stores."It isn't a sales-driven concept for us — it's brand-driven, and we want to excite the customer with a new level of retail," Black said.

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