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Gloria & Emilio Estefan

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MIAMI LIVING 69 Oh-So Marni-ficent The must-have designer discovers the Magic City Words by Martin Haro Last December, thousands of visitors arrived in Miami for Art Basel Miami Beach, but only a lucky few were invited to the opening of the new Marni flagship store in the Magic City. Marni, of course, is the must-have Italian clothing and accessories line designed by Consuelo Castiglioni, which she co-founded with her husband Gianni—fans include A-List clotheshorses such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cameron Diaz, Reese Witherspoon, and Thandie Newton. It has expanded steadily since launching in 1994, and today, the accessories line comprises a full bag collection, shoes, jewelry, and sun- and eyewear. A popular menswear line made its debut in 2002 (Mark Wahlberg has shown off a sleek Marni suit on occasion), followed by a children's line, as well as sexy lingerie and swim collections. Magic City fashionistas undoubtedly will gravitate toward the 230- square-foot Miami Design District boutique (3930 N.E. 2 nd Ave., Suite 100; (305) 764-3357) because there they will find Marni's famously eclectic collections. The space, conceptualized by Marni's own designer and creative director Castiglioni and Sybarite, a London-based architectural firm, takes inspiration from the streamlined, rhythmic patters of Miami's Art Deco style. The result is a cozy, yet stylish space in which circular forms abound. Graduated patterns of semi-spheres in white timberland and haute relief as decoration on the walls echo the texture of local the Art Deco architecture and are the space's signature element. Several varyingly sized backlit fiberglass boxes, painted in a random spray from translucent white to natural tones, are set in the walls and accommodate handbags, jewelry, and sunglasses. Round-tiered shoe displays in stainless steel are scattered around the space, along with round leather stools, modular seating, and beige colored circular rugs, breaking up the expanse of the polished concrete floor. Appearing to float on minimal supports, a stainless steel rail undulates around the perimeter, inside of which stainless steel trees fan out. Mannequins, also sprayed from white to natural tones, hang from the ceiling, accentuating a sense of weightless suspension in space, fully displaying Castiglioni's beautiful designs. This detail, natch, brings us to her Spring 2009 collection. The designer describes it as a contemporary take on couture elegance and a pop mood. "My inspiration has led me to tall, slim silhouettes with the intriguing effect of contrasts and overlaps," she told Miami Living exclusively in an e-mail interview the week after Basel. "I played with geometric shapes (sphere, diamond, check), vertical stripes, cascades of strong flashing tones opposed to fading colors, and a mixing of abstract forms with extraordinary details." The collection includes coordinated dresses, skirts, and shell tops, trouser suits and jackets, as well as two-sided and two-tone cardigans in feather-light cashmere or check jacquards teamed with pullovers and jersey briefs. As for accessories, Spring 2009 brings a Marni first: earrings. Huge flower petals mingle with spectacular necklaces and are reflected in exaggerated bracelets. They will be the It accessory this season, trust. Marni, which counts stores in Los Angeles, New York, Sydney, Tokyo, Milan, Moscow, and Paris, has finally arrived in our neck of the woods. And of course, one of the questions we simply had to ask Castiglioni was: Why open a store in Miami? "We think of Miami as a city that is transforming and evolving at the moment," she said. "For example, it has already become a well-known reference for the art and design worlds. So we chose the Design District, from a pool of alternatives, as the right location for our new boutique." Visit for a look at these must-have fashions. ML From Marni's women's Spring-Summer 2009 collection. From Marni's men's Spring-Summer 2009 collection. FASHION SPECIAL: EXCLUSIVE!

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