Oscar de la Renta Ltd. is seeing the sunny side of retail by opening a South Coast Plaza store in February.

This story first appeared in the December 3, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The new 2,600-square-foot boutique will be the second the designer will have unveiled in Southern California within a 12-month span. When the South Coast Plaza space opens in mid-February on the shopping center’s third level, it will be the designer’s seventh freestanding store. Like the Melrose Place location, the new space will house the designer’s ready-to-wear, accessories, shoes, handbags, jewelry and select items that are only offered in his freestanding stores. The interiors will be similar in that the South Coast Plaza store will have Dominican coral stone and high-gloss white anigre wood. There will also be a shoe catwalk and an even-ingwear area.

Alex Bolen, chief executive officer of Oscar de la Renta Ltd., said, “While the ready-to-wear will always be an important part of the mix, the store will be heavy on the accessories.”

The company plans to introduce a few new items as well, such as small leather goods, he said.

With annual sales nearing $1.5 billion, South Coast Plaza has nearly 300 boutiques, award-winning restaurants and is the highest-grossing planned retail center in the U.S. Orange County shoppers frequent de la Renta’s Los Angeles store, but the South Coast location in Costa Mesa will drastically reduce their commute. “It’s not a short trip from Newport Beach to West Hollywood,” Bolen pointed out.

The designer already has a strong following in South Coast Plaza since he wholesales his collection to other retailers, he said. The boutique should also boost business for South Coast Plaza stores that already carry the Oscar de la Renta label, Bolen added.

Having secured the Costa Mesa location, the company has its sights set on international expansion. “I hope to have some news soon,” Bolen said.