Byline: Kristin Young

BEVERLY HILLS — Cerruti is headed for the hills, according to Fin.part, parent of the European fashion house.
The first Cerruti West Coast boutique is set to open here at 449 North Rodeo Drive by fall. It will take over a 2,500-square-foot site vacated by Frette last September. Frette, the high-end Italian linen house and another Fin.part division, relocated to a larger space at 259 North Rodeo Drive.
Cerruti already operates one store in the U.S. at 789 Madison Avenue in New York.
Like many fashion houses that operate Rodeo Drive units, a retail space here often doubles as a public relations outlet, emphasizing brand exposure in Hollywood.
“It’s not simply that we had the space, we think Mr. [Nino] Cerruti has a great connection with movie stars,” said Gianluigi Facchini, Fin.part chairman and chief executive officer, speaking from the company’s headquarters in Milan. Facchini rattled off names like Sharon Stone, Kathleen Turner, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford and Jack Nicholson as being Cerruti customers.
Nino Cerruti, the Paris-based designer, could not be reached for comment. Facchini said more than $1 million will be spent to renovate the space.
The unit is expected to pull in sales of $2 million to $2.5 million in its first year — comparable to the volume of the New York store.
“We want it to be clean but warm, and not too minimal,” said Facchini, referring to the decor.
Pale ivory, stone and wood and key lighting will be important elements, he said.
The store will carry all Cerruti collections for men and women, including the Cerruti Arte and Cerruti 1881 collections.
Cerruti Arte pants for women retail from $2,050 to $2,950; dresses sell for $1,160 to $2,600. Cerruti 1881, a diffusion line, will range from $545 to $1,295 for pants and $1,020 to $1,790 for dresses. A new women’s shoe collection to be unveiled in the fall also will be carried at the boutique.
A Cerruti home collection is also in the works and is expected to hit stores by spring. Facchini said the line will likely sell at the Frette store but might all have a presence at the Cerruti doors.
Fin.part owns Frette, Maska and a series of sportswear brands including Marina Yachting, Henry Cotton’s, Moncler and Best Company.
The company acquired 51 percent of Cerruti last October for approximately $70 million and has plans to double the $250 million-a-year business. Nino Cerruti still controls the remaining 49 percent.
Cerruti’s annual wholesale volume, including licensing and direct sales, was $270 million last year. Facchini said he is anticipating the division to post $300 million in sales this year.
Asked about plans for more West Coast stores, Facchini said he will wait to see the results of the Rodeo Drive unit before planning any others.
There is at least one certainty, though: the Beverly Hills store will serve as party host.
“We will work through events and parties rather than advertising to promote this location,” said Facchini, noting Cerruti spends about $2 million a year on print advertising.

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