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Craig Robins on the Design District: "The One Place That You Absolutely Have to Come and See"


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Craig Robins is the de facto mastermind behind the Design District, one of Miami's most up-and-coming (if not almost there) neighborhoods. We mean, it's not just any person who can line up a row of competing luxury watch brands, which Haute Time reports is a first for the U.S.

Robins sat down with Haute Time to talk about how he lured "Switzerland's finest" overseas to Miami, where he explains that a partnership with L Real Estate, which is minority-owned and sponsored by LMVH, definitely gave him a boost. "The firm has been a great development partner for us, and brought in brands such as Christian Louboutin," Robins expanis. "But LVMH's validation gave us enormous credibility and really opened the eyes of the fashion world. If Miami was already a major destination for luxury fashion, it also became a place where something else—something new and special—could happen."

So how did the dominos fall? "Hermès was the first major fashion brand to commit to the Design District, followed shortly by Cartier and Richemont. When Cartier said they wanted to join us, it nudged fellow Richemont brands such as IWC and Vacheron Constantin to do the same. It also inspired a lot of other important watch and jewelry brands, including Harry Winston, Omega, Rolex and others," he says.

But the Design District is nowhere near completed, although Robins explains that by December we'll be able to see the neighborhood in about half of its glory, as 20 buildings are currently being built to welcome in 60 new stores, from Dolce & Gabbana to Diane Von Furstenberg. Also, by the time Art Basel hits, a few new eateries like L'Atelier and ABC Kitchen will be joining the Design District's culinary roster.