NEW YORK — Calvin Klein is taking on Milan this spring.

The company plans to open a flagship for its black label designer line in the Italian fashion capital in mid-April. The 5,576-square-foot shop will be located at Corso Matteotti, 5.

L’Innominato SpA will own and operate the store, though Calvin Klein Inc. retains approval rights over its interior design. The store will draw from architect John Pawson’s Calvin Klein Collection retail blueprint, which is typically linear in its layout and sparse in adornments. The company’s retail design team is creating the space with architect Enzo Manola. This will be the second Calvin Klein Collection store to open in Italy in the past year — the first opened on Rome’s Via Borgognona last September.

The three-story unit will offer apparel, footwear and accessories on its main and second floors, and Calvin Klein Jeans on its lower level. Each floor will also be peppered with categories such as underwear, fragrance, watches and eyewear.

Calvin Klein, a subsidiary of Phillips-Van Heusen Corp. also has its European headquarters in Milan. The new flagship will take its number of freestanding stores to 17, including units in New York, Dallas and Paris. 

Tom Murry, CKI’s president and chief operating officer, said the Italian market represents “a very fashion-conscious customer base and is an important market for us to showcase our luxury Collection products for men and women.” In addition, he said CKI would like to open more Calvin Klein Collection stores in fashion cities within Italy.

“We have always had a strong customer base in Europe, and now, with our partnership with Vestimenta and the opening of the Milan Collection store, we are well positioned to further develop our designer business in Europe,” added Murry. Vestimenta is Calvin Klein Collection’s worldwide licensee and has handled the global distribution since last spring.

Last November, Murry said that Calvin Klein’s entire European business represents between 25 and 30 percent of its global revenues and in the future, he expects that share to stay at current levels. “We are seeing rapid growth in the U.S. and Asia…so proportionally, [Europe] should remain the same,” Murry said at the time.

This story first appeared in the February 8, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Calvin Klein will be the second major American designer to open a store in Milan, following the arrival of a Ralph Lauren flagship last fall. The Lauren store is 16,000-square-feet over four floors and was the designer’s first in Italy. The store literally had lines around the block shortly after opening, and business has remained strong.