A mural and display at Lucien Pellat-Finet’s new downtown store.

Lucien Pellat-Finet, known for his vibrant cashmeres, has opened a store in Manhattan’s West Village and plans to open another in London.

NEW YORK — Lucien Pellat-Finet, a designer known for his vibrant cashmere pieces, has opened a store in Manhattan’s West Village and plans to open another next year in London.

With an eclectic sampling of art and freshly painted walls that will coordinate with new collections, the space at 14 Christopher Street is reflective of the Paris-based designer’s colorful style. Earlier this year, at the Basel Art Fair, Pellat-Finet was so taken by Brooklyn artist Jin Meyerson’s work that he tracked him down during his next visit to New York and commissioned him to do a mural for the store.

A chandelier by Olivier Gagnère, reminiscent of Dale Chihuly’s work, that once hung in Pellat-Finet’s apartment adds another shot of color, as does a sculpture by Jean-Michel Othoniel. All three artists stopped by the new store to see Pellat-Finet during one of his New York visits this month.

Tie-dyed cashmere sweaters, bikinis imprinted with hemp leaves and crewneck tops with a peace sign motif are among the store’s offerings. Basic cashmere sweaters retail for $600, scarves are in the $680 to $1,400 range, skull-shaped belts sell for $473 and long-sleeve T-shirts are $415, with such inscriptions as “Crazy Lucien His Prices Are Insane.” Children’s sweaters are also available, as they are in his stores in Paris and Tokyo.

A unit in Osaka, Japan, is expected to open later this year.

While customized sweaters continue to be an important part of the designer’s business, he has introduced a ready-to-wear collection. Pellat-Finet said in an interview that he is considering adding more coats to that group if he finds good factories.

“I have to go step by step, because I am my own backer,” he said. “I don’t have a bank behind me. Every time I launch something new, it makes me feel careful.”

To that point, the designer said he initially wanted to launch a collection of handbags, but it was difficult to find the right Italian factory, so he wound up going into ready-to-wear. Before the year ends, he intends to launch a signature candle and jewelry collection.

Pellat-Finet, who had a store in London in the Nineties, said he is on the lookout for a space there, since he doesn’t have any accounts there. Opening in-store shops, especially in the Japanese market, is another priority.

This story first appeared in the July 27, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“When I look back at my 10 years, I have to be aware of every move I’m doing,” he said. “This way I learn a lot and should not make any mistakes. Every step you take is a real step.”

— R.F