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Ports 1961's U.S. Debut

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Ports 1961 opens today on Melrose Place—its first boutique in the U.S.—just steps from La Cienega and right next to Monique Lhuillier. WWD reports the Canadian-based brand got in right before rents in the area got too out of hand: "Ports 1961 signed the 10-year lease in November 2006, before rents on the street, where Marc Jacobs and Carolina Herrera, among others, are located, reached their current high of $18 to $20 a square foot." Also of note is the opening of its NYC store: "The brand is also in the midst of renovating a four-story town house in Manhattan's Meatpacking District, but structural challenges... have delayed the store opening to the end of 2008." But don't think you'll start seeing Ports 1961 shops sprouting all over the place, as Creative Director Tia Cibani told the fashion trade: "We really want to focus on making our New York and L.A. stores successful... A mass rollout strategy doesn't have a heart and that's not us. It's too corporate and calculated." Look out for follow-up images to our first look photos tomorrow. [WWD, subscription req]