NEW YORK — Pronovias christened its worldwide flagship here amid the lushness of moss, vines and flowering branches that surrounded wedding dresses and gave the store an “Alice in Wonderland” vibe.

This story first appeared in the May 15, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Of course, Alice didn’t sip Champagne or sample Spanish foods as guests did at the party Thursday to launch Pronovias’ first U.S. store, a five-floor, 21,000-square-foot space on East 52nd Street off Madison Avenue. The event had a Flamenco Blanco (a type of Spanish guitar) theme and benefitted New Yorkers for Children, a nonprofit that supports programs for kids in foster care.

Barcelona-based Pronovias, the world’s largest bridal manufacturer, expects the flagship to generate $20 million to $25 million in sales in two or three years, company president Alberto Palatchi said.

“We’ve been having much more traffic and many more conversions than we expected,” he said. “It’s been a very encouraging start.”

With a minimalist design and rich materials — vases packed with roses are placed throughout the store — the flagship appears to exude calm amid the pressures of planning a wedding.

A dramatic modern chandelier hangs over the ground-level foyer and one-off designs by Manuel Mota displayed on mannequins can be seen on the mezzanine from the main floor.

Earlier Thursday, Pronovias presented a fashion show to the press. “Not many people know us,” Palatchi said. “It’s going to take a long time, but we feel very confident.”

About 70 percent of the customers are from the Tristate area. The rest travel from abroad to go to the store. Most of the dresses being sold are from the middle-high-to-high price points, Palatchi said, noting that Pronovias gowns cost $1,800 to $3,000; Manuel Mota dresses, $3,000 to $6,000, and Elie Saab and Valentino Sposa go as high as $12,000. The company is working with Swarovski to create limited edition bridal dresses from $25,000 to $100,000.

“We have to have exceptional things,” Palatchi said. “We have to have things you cannot find anywhere else. We want to be very integrated into New York society.”

Judging by the guests, Pronovias is better known in social circles than Palatchi may have thought. Karolina Kurkova, Tinsley Mortimer, Alexandra Richards, Dylan Lauren, Lydia Hearst and Ivanka Trump were among those delicately fingering the tulle, organza and silk doupioni gowns as strains of the Spanish singer Ana Salazar filled the store.

“This shop features new products before any Pronovias shop in the world,” Palatchi said. “We want our wholesale accounts to see it. Wholesale sales are up by 30 percent over last year in terms of units. We want them to see how this flagship will support the brands. The flagship is designed to interact with our wholesale accounts. We’ll invite them to spend one night in New York and see our retail model.”

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