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When Catherine Malandrino first traveled to Dubai in 2005, she couldn’t help but be impressed by the city’s energy and burgeoning society.
This story first appeared in the January 28, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“I was fascinated by the energy of a new world that was completely unknown 10 years ago,” said the French designer. “I had the opportunity to explore a city that was blooming with creativity, and I was amazed by the scaffoldings that touched the sky.”
Now she has added her own touch to the city’s retail scene. After selling her line at Harvey Nichols in Dubai, the Al Tayer Group, the Middle Eastern luxury retail operator, approached the designer to open her first boutique in Dubai, and Malandrino jumped at the chance. Earlier this month, Malandrino opened a 1,400-square-foot boutique at the Dubai Mall, which is known as the world’s largest mall. Malandrino designed the space, which has a 36-foot-high facade and ceilings, with French architect Christophe Pillet. Its features include a large “Summer Rain” chandelier made with 953 Murano glass pieces, and a patchwork amber glass screen.
The designer also has boutiques in Paris, New York, East Hampton and Manhasset on Long Island, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Istanbul. The Dubai boutique offers selections from the designer and the Catherine Malandrino contemporary collections.
Malandrino declined to give sales projections for the unit, which opened on Jan. 15.
The designer said she merchandised the mix to suit the local flavor. “For traditional and cultural motives, I adapted some of my dresses, proposing full length and long sleeves, but always maintaining the Catherine Malandrino aesthetic of lightness and ultrafemininity and created a larger selection of evening accessories: jeweled clutches and sandals,” Malandrino noted.