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Tarantino Waltzing Into Milan

LOS ANGELES — Crystal queen Tarina Tarantino has even more reason than family heritage to visit the Old Country. <br><br>Come September, the West Hollywood-based accessory designer will see the opening of her first retail venture, half way...

LOS ANGELES — Crystal queen Tarina Tarantino has even more reason than family heritage to visit the Old Country.

This story first appeared in the July 24, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Come September, the West Hollywood-based accessory designer will see the opening of her first retail venture, half way around the world in Milan.

The fuchsia-tressed Tarantino, known for producing brightly colored hair baubles from Swarovski crystals and laminates, is set to open a 50-square-foot in-store shop at the the Fiorucci department store at Piazza San Babila.

The small space is set to pull in between $500,000 and $600,000 in sales its first year. That comes out to a robust $10,000 per square foot.

“A year ago, we were both in the store and we thought it would be great to have a shop there,” she said about the initial visit with her husband and business partner, Alfonso Campos. “The first time I walked in I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is so cool.’”

In June, Campos returned to the store. Elio Fiorucci walked by with his niece, Marina de Bertoldi, in tow. De Bertoldi talked up the line to her uncle and Campos walked away with a lease and an opening date.

“We think it will be a great success especially for the Italian market,” said De Bertoldi.

For the store, Tarantino said the interior will use the same fuchsia, orange, lime green and aqua blue that colors other parts of their world, from the offices here to the merchandise. The shelving, though, will be clear Lucite. “We want the jewelry to explode.”

Tarantino said the store will be organized much like a candy shop, by color and product. Necklaces and bracelets will be set up in one spot; mounds of rings and earrings in another.

“I like the whole idea of customers feeling like they’re getting something delicious,” said the designer.

Initially, the store will carry the Tarantino classics: the bejeweled hair clips in the shape of butterflies or bugs that launched her career some seven years ago, retail priced at about $15, to the Lucite crystal-encrusted vintage flowers she discovered in a defunct factory that retail for $150.

Ponytail holders, long barrettes and jelly chord stretchy rings — styles that have been checking well in her domestic accounts like Nordstrom — will also be offered, as will Tarantino Bambino, the two-year-old children’s line.

Sources estimate total volume for Tarantino is over $2.5 million.

Tarantino has also begun sketching pieces exclusively for the store. She will branch out into T-shirts, handbags and eventually shoes. A cosmetics line is not far off, she added. “I have it sketched and it’s ready to go. We just have to find the right partner.”

With her new collections, Tarantino is committed to a moderate price point.

“Cameron Diaz wore this bracelet to the Oscars,” she said, pointing to the turquoise-colored roses wrapping her wrist. “[Magazines] assumed this is some expensive piece. It’s $40 and is available at [many] stores.”

The Fiorucci complex contains outposts for Adidas, Fornarina and Miss Sixty, among others. It’s not unlike one of Tarantino’s favorite hometown haunts, Fred Segal, a retail institution with several in-store shops.

“It’s one of those rare stores that gets the tourists and the locals,” said Campos.