DALLAS — Acknowledging that business is “challenging everywhere,” Kean Etro is nonetheless happy with Etro’s performance in the U.S. and Japan. “In America we’re growing,” said the creative director of men’s wear, noting U.S. sales are up about 15 percent since Jan. 1. Etro spoke minutes before a party celebrating the brand’s new store at Highland Park Village in Dallas.

The company’s fastest growth market is Japan, where the brand was rated number one in sales last year by Sankei Shimbun newspaper, he said. Etro has sold in Japan for 30 years.

“We’ve always come third, so for the first time in 2015 — banzai! — we’re number one,” he said.

The company concentrates on Europe, the U.S. and Japan because they are “the three places where we feel most at home culturally,” he said.

The economic situation for designer brands is “a disaster” in China and Russia, he noted, and Europe is “feeling the danger.”

Citing terrorist bombings and the refugee crisis, Etro said European sales slid 8 percent this month in and would have plunged about 14 percent if not for the early Easter.

The politics are “really difficult,” he said. “In Greece and Turkey and also on Italian beaches in Sicily, you find dead bodies. So that is a big issue. On the other side, you have terrorism.”

This was Etro’s first visit to Dallas, and he brought along his wife, Constanza, and five-year-old daughter, Sofia.

“What I’ve noticed is people are gentle here,” he said. “We feel at home.”

Party guests included Bruce Hoeksema and Derrill Osborn plus Dallas socials Jamie O’Banion, Myrna and Bob Schlegel, Tina Craig, Stephen and Elisa Summers and Yvette Ostolaza.