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The Real Fashion Houses of Miami

How Fendi, Armani and Lagerfeld are becoming involved in the city’s real estate market

Starchitects are so last year: Miami’s real estate market has officially moved on to fashion. Giorgio Armani, Karl Lagerfeld and the Fendi family are all involved with luxury residential towers along the coast. And these A-listers aren’t simply lending their names to projects. “We were surprised by how involved Armani gets,” says Carlos Rosso, of The Related Group, which is co-developing Residences by Armani/Casa in Sunny Isles Beach. “He talks about ‘dressing’ rooms like he’s dressing women.” Whereas buyers can purchase Armani’s entire vision, including $200,000 of onyx for master baths alone, Lagerfeld is focusing on a set of lobbies for his condominium foray with The Estates at Acqualina. His inspiration is piazza life in ancient Rome, and is centered around a dramatic fountain. “Lobbies are significant because they offer the first impression of the building,” he says, “and they are the spaces where people come to socialize daily.” Armani and Lagerfeld’s properties won’t be completed for a few years, but Fendi Château recently finished construction of the house’s first-ever residences in the town of Surfside, next to Bal Harbour. It’s a true Fendi fantasy, from mother-of-pearl cabinetry to Calacatta marble in the bathrooms. “Our buyer is looking for brand,” says Manuel Grosskopf, CEO of Château Group. “The building has a wall piece that’s in Fendi stores around the world.”