MIAMI — It’s always about la dolce vita here. Perhaps that’s why Italian designers like Roberto Cavalli have such a grasp on the Miami market. Last Wednesday, Cavalli hosted a late-night fete for 400 of the city’s glitterati at The Shore Club, where he reveled in the scene, signature cigar in hand.

“I come here whenever I get the chance for work or to see old friends like Micky Grendene, who owns Casa Tua,” he said.

But his diffusion line Just Cavalli was the night’s real star. The party and fashion show represented a major push of the label’s U.S. presence, according to Cavalli. Models sashayed atop a zebra-striped rug in the spring 2005 collection, which features plenty of Bollywood elements like mirror appliqués, elephant brooches and gold embroidery. An embroidered jacket and bermuda shorts in mustard canvas shown with a V-neck top in an orange elephant print and rope platform shoes totaled $2,720. Also featured were a turquoise knit halter with ruffled hem, a denim top with gold detail and cuffed denim capris. Hairstylist Ric Pipino, who operates a salon at The Shore Club, re-created the original runway show’s braided, nymph-like looks for the event.  

Along with Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Miami is a city of interest for Just Cavalli. A nearly 2,000-square-foot, licensee-owned Just Cavalli store opened in Bal Harbour Shops in July, and Cavalli said his experimental company-owned store — oddly dubbed More More More, which carries a hodgepodge of his licensed products — at the Village of Merrick Park shopping center in Coral Gables, Fla., will be converted into a licensed Just Cavalli store this year. He said Just Cavalli stores also are planned for San Francisco, Hawaii and New York.

“I try to differentiate it from the designer collection, but there are certain themes that occur throughout like this season’s animals and sea life,” said Cavalli, before staying up into the wee hours in true dolce vita style.

This story first appeared in the May 4, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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