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PARIS — For Gianfranco Ferré, Paris is a party. At least that’s the spirit the Italian designer captured on Tuesday evening as he became the latest designer to crash Paris couture week. He did it by showing his spring ready-to-wear collection to a select group of local clients and editors at the Jeu de Paume. “I wanted to pay homage to Paris and my Parisian clients,” the designer said. “It’s important that they see the quality of the clothes up close.”

This story first appeared in the January 23, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The show, which was followed by a sit-down dinner, also helped announce the opening of his new flagship on the luxurious Avenue Montaigne. The 4,000-square-foot shop is the first of a string of new-generation stores Ferré is scheduled to open in the next year. One is slated for Capri this spring, while the existing emporiums in Milan, Cannes, Porto Cervo and New York will be restyled according to the new model over the next year.

The presentation and the new boutique are the first fruits of Ferré’s two-year marriage with IT Holding, the Italian clothing manufacturer, he explained. “I feel very inspired and energetic,” he said. “I have so many projects at the moment. I feel very good about that.”

Ferré, who designed couture at Dior before the arrival of John Galliano, even suggested that he is mulling a fresh jump into that fray. “With everything I’m doing right now, it won’t be tomorrow,” he said. “But maybe in a couple of years, I’d like to do a couture show again. I can’t deny that it’s in the back of my mind.”

Meanwhile, the designer characterized the look of his new address as “elegant and creative.” The space boasts glossy rosewood or red stucco walls and marble floors. A wall of TV monitors plays his runway show, as images of the collection are projected on mannequins. Shoppers enter via an area dedicated to accessories that unfolds into separate rooms dedicated to lingerie, day and evening wear.

“I’m very proud of the store,” Ferré said with a smile. “It’s exactly what I’ve always wanted to have in Paris.”

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