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  • Cecile Corral

120% Lino Basks in the Warm Climate

120% Lino displays120% Lino displays bedding at the center of the store amid its colorful fashion apparel collections.
CORAL GABLES, FLA. - Crisp. Clean. Light.
     Lest we forget one more: Luxury.
     These are words to live by when living and lounging in Miami - and when shopping for high-end bedding and bath linens from Magic City newcomer 120% Lino.
     The 25-year-old upscale Italian purveyor of luxury linen apparel and - more recently, home textiles - has made its first retail move into the U.S. market with a shop located in the posh Villages of Merrick Park shopping venue in the city's affluent Coral Gables neighborhood.
     It makes sense to pick this sun-drenched, pan-Latin locale as a launching point. Miami's residents - permanents and pied-à tere types - as well as the city's heavily Hispanic tourist base have reacted well to 120% Lino's super-soft, solid white, 100% linen goods, noted Jolanda Marini, vp and the force behind the company's entry into the United States.
     Located on the first floor of the center, 120% Lino's American home is steps from the mall's manicured gardens and in the milieu of Neiman Marcus, Tiffany & Co., Façonnable, Carolina Herrera, and Gucci, to name a few.
     "We love Merrick Park - it's been our best decision," Marini told HTT. "It's a sophisticated environment with an abundance of Latin American clients who love linen. [Our products] are very well appreciated by them."
     Marini said the timing of the store's opening this past October was also right. "Two years ago it might have been a disaster. But the upscale customer is doing better now, and Merrick Park is specifically geared to that high end Latin customer, whether they live around here or they come to Miami and bring spending money or they have an apartment here they need to furnish."
     Miami is not new to Marini. For the past 16 years, she has been based in the city's upscale urban Brickell area.
     120% Lino, which is based in Milan and Capri, Italy, was founded by company president Alberto Peretto 25 years ago as a fine linen and fabric fashion house.
     It was not until about 10 years ago that home linens were added to the offering through an alliance with Italian furniture designer Lanzi to complement his sofas and beds, explained Marini.
     "From that initiative, we created a whole new division for bedding, bath and table linens," she continued.
     While 120% Lino has sold wholesale to specialty retailers in the United States, the Miami store represents the company's first retail concept that it corporately owns here.
     For now, the home line is strictly available in white. "It's always the chicest color in this kind of climate," Marini said.
     "But because we garment dye all of our products, we can do any color in the world," she continued. "So if this concept takes off, we can add pink, light blue, gray, anything the customer wants."
     In bedding, an Italian linen queen duvet cover is priced at $619, a set of two Euro shams is $339, and two pillow cases retail at $$230.
     The bath department comprises robes and towels. The linen kimono robe is priced at $216, the terrycloth linen robe with hood is $290, and the terrycloth linen robe sans hood is $239. The towels, all of which feature a linen border, include a bath size for $150 and a hand and-face (wash) towel two-piece set for $110.
     The table linens assortment includes a square tablecloth with six napkins for $485, a rectangular tablecloth is eight napkins for $628, four napkins for $97, two placemats with matching napkins for $163, and a runner for $154.
     Customer response to the store over the past four months has been "extremely positive. But we still are known mainly as a fashion [apparel] company. So the customer is still discovering that we also carry home goods," Marini noted.
     Nevertheless, business has been healthy enough to encourage 120% Lino to seek out more potential venues to open additional stores - both in the Miami-Dade area and in other warm U.S. climates.
     North Miami, specifically the high-end Aventura area, is where 120% Lino will open a soon-to come second storefront.
     California is also under consideration, Marini said. "And we want to continue with our lifestyle store concept."
     Also soon to come for U.S.-based 120% Lino: The launch of a new website, set for late February or early spring.

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