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Car Shoe Opens New Milan Flagship

Godfrey Deeny
November 28th, 2006 @ 3:01 PM - Paris

One of Italy's most dynamic brands, Car Shoe, has opened a tony new Milan flagship, underlining the ambitions of its owner, the Prada Group, for the label.

Car Shoe actually shifted its global flagship down the street in one of Milan's key luxury shopping arteries, transferring the boutique from number 50 Via della Spiga to number 1.

Designed by architect Roberto Baciocchi, the new space employs precious materials throughout. Briarwood, alcantara and leather are used, as are chromium plating and boiserie, suggesting the ambience of a luxury auto in a clever example of modern sobriety.

Baciocchi is the Italian architect who has been designing Prada and Miu Miu stores since 1982, and has created spaces for shoemaker Church, watchmaker Girard Perregeaux and yachting specialist Spinnaker.

Founded in 1963 by artisan Gianni Mostile, who shared a passion for both racecars and hand-made shoes, Car Shoe is best known for its signature moccasin whose sole boasts tiny rubber nubs. The inventive footwear even earned a patent from the Italian Ministry of Industry and Trade and a following among powerful men known as style icons - Giovanni Agnelli, JFK and Roberto Rossellini, to name three.

Prada acquired control of Car Shoe in 2001, opening flagship stores in Milan and Capri in the next two years and introduced the line into over 200 major boutiques internationally. Spring-summer 2004 saw the launch of its first bag collections.

Its classical driving shoe is now available in a wide range of colours and leathers, and even in a new children's collection.

Under Prada's control, Car Shoe has enjoyed excellent sales growth. Its 2005 turnover of 17 million euros ($21 million) represented a remarkable 180% surge in sales from 6 million euros ($7.5 million) in 2004.

The label is planning more store openings in Italy in the short term and in Europe and New York in the medium term, while considering opportunities in emerging markets. It should. A recent tour of markets in Beijing by FWD confirmed that Car Shoe is one of the half dozen most copied labels in the Chinese capital.

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