FASHION CHILLS OUT IN FLORIDA

Byline: Anita J. Finkelstein

MIAMI — Unusually chilly weather here last month put some extra snap in two fashion events.
It helped sales at the refurbished Sonia Rykiel boutique in Palm Beach’s Esplanade on Worth Avenue. The boutique, which carries the designer’s signature knitwear as well as her sportswear line, reopened on Feb. 11 and racked up $175,000 in the first week — much of it from sweater purchases.
The new store is 2,000 square feet, about triple its previous size.
Rykiel herself came in for a launch gala on Feb. 15 at the Breakers Hotel. The luncheon and fashion show, attended by about 500 women, benefited the Palm Beach Friends of The Alzheimer’s Association.
The following night, Nicole Miller hosted a fashion show and dinner at The Delano to benefit the Boggy Creek Gang, a camp for chronically ill children.
Bud Konheim, Miller’s chief executive officer, was standing in for the designer, who he explained is “very pregnant” and couldn’t make it. Actor Paul Newman, who founded the camp, did turn up, after spending the day fishing with local volunteers for the organization.
The wind and cold turned what was meant to be a formal black-tie dinner into a more casual event, as models wrapped themselves in the hotel’s white blankets between walks down the runway, and guests huddled to ward off the chilly breezes.
The whole experience prompted Konheim to comment: “When you’ve been in the fashion business as long as I have, the last thing you worry about is the weather.”

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