Byline: Wendy Hessen

NEW YORK — Lana Marks, chief executive officer and designer of the high-end handbag and leather goods firm bearing her name, opened her first retail store just in time for the holiday season’s sales surge in luxury goods.
The store opened Dec. 11 at 645 Madison Ave. between 59th and 60th Streets here. “Our sales for the first week were 100 percent above plan,” said Marks, and on the strength of business thus far, Marks said the company has increased its first-year sales projection for the 1,000-square-foot store to more than $5 million.
Marks said her best-selling piece has been the handbag she designed with Princess Diana in mind. Three to four of these bags have been selling per day; each retails for $5,750 in alligator. Items from Marks’s Zodiac and Safari belt buckle collections, which retail from $600 to $1,150, have also been checking well, as have belt straps at $600, she said. Marks’s collection ranges from silk scarves at $210 to large totes in exotic leathers for $12,000.
Color has been a big selling point, she said. Her leather goods, which are made of alligator, lizard or ostrich, come in 60 colors and the most popular so far have been lime green, turquoise, lavender, purple, honey and black. Marks said she has gotten complements on the openness of the store and the luxury materials used.
The store was designed by the architectural firm Peter Marino & Associates and features a ceiling more than 17 feet high and an oversized front window. This design scheme is in keeping with the look of several other recently opened stores in the neighborhood; both the Calvin Klein store across the street and the Ann Taylor store a few blocks north feature similar two-story windows and minimalist-look interiors.
The interior, based on Cubist theory, is constructed of marble, limestone, bleached and ebonized woods and plaster. The color scheme, in shades of ivory, black and gold, allows customers to focus on the color range of the exotic skins Marks uses in her collection. Handbags are displayed in color groupings in fabric-lined boxes, which are inset in a random pattern in the store’s walls.
Small leather goods, belts, belt buckles and scarves are also on display in and behind the store’s glass counters.

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