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Haute in Florida: Designer boutiques and high-end fashion

Louis Vuitton Maison Store

» A “made to order” section (left) where men can have shoes custom designed from 3,000 options and then handmade in Italy’s Veneto region. The Aventura store is the only LV store in North America to offer this service.

» A Haute Maroquinerie salon where women can design their own handbags (five shapes, 26 colors, eight skins and 40,000 possibilities), which are crafted in the Louis Vuitton Asnières atelier in Paris.

» A sculpture by Cuban artist Jorge Pardo commissioned by Louis Vuitton specifically for this location along with rotating in-store art exhibits by various contemporary artists.

Referring to the new Louis Vuitton Maison store in Aventura as a boutique is like calling Buckingham Palace the queen’s house. This is indeed the travel destination that it was conceived to be by Peter Marino, the architect who designed the two-story haven for luxury lovers, with its private entrance, polished stainless-steel grand staircase with leather-wrapped handrails winding through the center of the space, onyx and amber floors running through women’s ready-to-wear, garden terrace intended for stylish luncheons, VIP shopping room and specially commissioned artwork throughout.

All of this serves as the backdrop for the main attraction: The Louis Vuitton brand’s signature goods, which have been drawing moneyed consumers of a certain taste from around the world for more than 250 years.

No doubt those iconic monogram canvas bags spring to mind, but the label actually began as a travel goods company in the late 19th century; since then, it has added to its offerings ready-to-wear — now under the auspices of fashion legend Marc Jacobs — along with scarves, shoes, watches, sunglasses, swimwear and jewelry. And a fragrance is in the works.

So why did the brand defect to Aventura from its previous digs in the Bal Harbour Shops? Says David Goubert, senior vice president/southern region of Louis Vuitton, “This location allows us to reach a broader audience of clientele and, more importantly, to expand the offerings of products and services — including bespoke services that are only available in a handful of locations around the world.”

Silvia Fassardi
Septimo Jewelry- Miami/Sunny Isles/Coral Gables

Fassardi chose the name for her jewelry line based on its translation from Spanish — septimo means “seventh,” and seven is a lucky number for her. But it’s more than luck that has built a fan base for her 24k gold-plated and sterling silver, affordably priced snake-themed earrings and rings, delicate zodiac necklaces and cuff bracelets, which are available through her website as well as in boutiques in Miami, Sunny Isles and Coral Gables.


Julian Chang
Julian Chang Couture - 8 boutiques in Florida

This Peruvian-born designer has been a shining star since his Miami Art Institute days in the ’90s; since then, he’s won numerous awards, including Women’s Wear Daily’s Up-and-Coming Ready-to-Wear Designer to Watch, for his glamorous, sexy yet sophisticated, Miami-influenced apparel, fans of which include Britney Spears and Gloria Estefan.


Silvia Tcherassi
Silvia Tcherassi Boutiques - Miami/Coral Gables

Colombian-born, Miami-based Tcherassi has been lauded for her delicate, ethereal prêt-à-porter and demi-couture, which have been shown on the runways of Paris and Milan. She also designs a bridal collection, showcased in her Coral Gables bridal atelier.


Kimberly Hendrix
k.hendrix - St. Petersburg

Hendrix’s hand-made, meticulously beaded and embroidered bustiers and dresses created from high-end reclaimed or recycled vintage materials are on display at her downtown St. Petersburg showroom.


Esteban Cortazar

The 29-year-old former creative director of Emanuel Ungaro was showing his sketches around Miami at age 13, when then-fashion designer Todd Oldham took him under his wing. After he graduated from Miami’s Design & Architecture Senior High, his career took off; today his elegant, expensive high-fashion gowns, suits, capes and accessories remain favorites among well-heeled women of style.


Natalya Toporova
Natalya Toporova Swimwear - Miami

Like many of the fashion-forward, the Russian-born designer has chosen south Florida as her base, where she designs bold, unique bikinis and “monokinis” with cutouts and embellishments and eveningwear that’s meant for the sizzling Miami nightlife.


Erin Healy
Miami Beach/St. Augustine

Her style has been described as “Coco Chanel-classy with a Gwen Stefani edginess.” Healy’s designs have been featured in Lucky magazine.


Kyoko Higa and Maritza Fernandez
Filomena Fernandez - Coral Gables

Designers Kyoko Higa and Maritza Fernandez collaborate to meld the influences of their respective cultures in flowing pieces with clean lines and interesting details like lace insets, cold shoulders and sheer panels.


Lorie Lester
Miami/Key West

Available at boutiques throughout Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, North Carolina and Tennessee For six years, this designer has been building a following that loves her easygoing dresses, jumpsuits and separates in silk, organic cotton and modal