February 19, 2016 / 1:17 PM / 4 years ago

Roberto Cavalli opens first shop in post-sanctions Iran

MILAN, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Italian fashion house Roberto Cavalli said on Friday it had opened its first shop in Iran following the lifting of sanctions there earlier this year.

Rich in natural resources and with a young, well-educated population of about 80 million, some analysts think Iran could be a potential goldmine for luxury goods companies.

Roberto Cavalli is among the first Italian brands to strike out in Tehran with a store dedicated to its own label - the model favoured over department store concessions by many luxury fashion companies as it allows them to control their image and relationship with customers.

The store, with 350 square metres of floors made of brown quartzite mixed with crystal dust, decked out with ponyskin carpets, sells women’s, men’s and children’s clothing and eyewear.

“We think Iran is set to become a very interesting market for luxury products,” Cavalli CEO Renato Semerari said.

European and Asian firms have a head start in Iran as some U.S. sanctions remain, restricting American companies.

Leather goods maker Piquadro opened in a Tehran shopping centre last year. Dolce & Gabbana, striking away from its usual form-fitting creations, launched a hijab and abaya collection in January, but declined to comment on whether it planned to do more business in Iran.

Roberto Cavalli, whose catwalk collections often include vibrant patterns and animal prints, was bought by private equity fund Clessidra last April.

Its 75 year-old founder retains 10 percent. He handed over creative direction to Norwegian designer Peter Dundas last March. (Reporting by Stephen Jewkes and Isla Binnie; Editing by Mark Potter)

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