View Slideshow

MILAN — Osklen, one of Brazil’s most famous beach and casualwear brands, will soon be landing in New York.

Oskar Metsavaht, Osklen’s creative director, said he plans to show the collection in September during New York Fashion Week and hopes to open Osklen’s first U.S. store in Manhattan next March.

The New York store is part of the company’s retail rollout, which included the recent opening of its flagship on Corso Di Porta Ticinese here last week.

Metsavaht said opening a shop in Milan is “every designer’s dream.”

The 1,500-square-foot space brings Metsavaht’s Brazilian spirit to Milan with bright rooms, rustic wooden benches, surfboards, oversize table lamps covered in rugged cloth, and myriad books and paintings evocative of Brazil’s natural environment and culture.

The current spring collection is full of Brazilian landmark prints such as Copacabana in the Fifties, Ipanema Beach and the nearby trendy Arpoador and Leblon areas. Retail prices range from $50 for a printed T-shirt and $95 for a bikini to $574 for a silk georgette dress. On the accessories front, prices run the gamut from $315 for a canvas handbag to $2,700 for a skateboard backpack in ostrich leather.

Designers Valentino, Calvin Klein and Narciso Rodriguez are some of Osklen’s customers. “[Valentino] bought a pair of shoes in Rio’s store last April; Calvin showed up wearing Osklen’s Bermudas and shirt with his Calvin Klein belt bag, and Narciso mentioned my skateboard backpack leather as one of his preferred design objects,” said Metsavaht.

Metsavaht, 45, was a sports medicine doctor before he entered fashion. He designed his first jacket in 1986 for an expedition to the Aconcagua Peak in the Andes. He wanted something that could weather the rugged conditions. When he returned from the trek, his friends were knocking on his door to have the jacket.

Since then, the brand has evolved into a hot casual label. He said his target consumers are “modern and active” women and men.

According to Metsavaht, Osklen’s sales will total $35 million this year.

Osklen is a mix of the names Oskar and Leonardo, his brother and traveling companion. Founded in 1989 in Buzios Island, Rio de Janeiro’s chicest neighborhood, Osklen has grown into one of Brazil’s most popular brands and today counts more than 34 stores in the South American country. In Europe, in addition to Milan, Osklen has stores in Lisbon and Cascais, Portugal; Saint-Tropez, France, and Geneva. The brand also retails in multibrand shops and department stores in Europe, including Paris’ Colette, and in the Middle East and Japan.

This story first appeared in the June 1, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

load comments
blog comments powered by Disqus