By  on December 23, 2008

MILAN — Mariella Burani Fashion Group has signed a licensing agreement for the production and worldwide distribution of La Perla’s ready-to-wear collection. The company had produced rtw in-house for more than a decade.

a Perla is controlled by private equity fund JH Partners LLC, based in San Francisco, which in October acquired the remaining 30 percent stake  after buying 70 percent in July 2007, and took total control of the Bologna-based innerwear firm La Perla Group from founding family member and company chairman Alberto Masotti, who retired.JH Partners is focused on a reorganization and relaunch plan of the $230 million La Perla label to boost its business globally. To streamline operations, La Perla said in October it was shedding 365 jobs in Bologna. The group operates 78 boutiques worldwide and is available at about 3,000 multibrand stores.Jeff Hansen, a partner of San Francisco-based JH Partners and managing director of La Perla, has said he wants to refocus efforts on the primary La Perla brands, as well as reposition growth in underpenetrated markets in the U.S. and Asia. A key part of the effort is weeding out unproductive lines and cutting overhead costs.“La Perla is a prestigious luxury brand, and we have the competence and skills to develop the La Perla Prêt-à-Porter collections at an international level,” said Giovanni Burani, chief executive officer of Mariella Burani Fashion Group.The La Perla rtw, designed by Alessandro Dell’Acqua, regularly showed during Milan Fashion Week. Dell’Acqua’s contract expired with the spring 2009 season. A Burani group spokeswoman said sales projections or future developments for the collection are not yet available.Mariella Burani Fashion Group, founded in 1960 by Giovanni Burani’s father, Walter Burani, is listed on the Milan stock exchange. The group consists of four divisions: apparel, leather goods, fashion jewelry and digital fashion. In addition to its own apparel collections, Mariella Burani and René Lezard, the group holds licenses with Vivienne Westwood for the Anglomania collection, and with Ungaro for its Fuchsia line, among others.The group’s leather goods unit, Antichi Pellettieri SpA, controls Finduck Srl, parent company of Mandarina Duck,  Braccialini, Coccinelle and Francesco Biasia SpA, among others. It also holds licenses for Aquascutum and Missoni, among others.The jewelry division holds licenses with John Galliano and Rosato. The Burani group’s consolidated revenues in the first nine months of 2008 grew 7.9 percent to 520.9 million euros, or $791.7 million at average exchange rate, compared with the same period last year.   

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