By  on September 15, 2010

MILAN — Aeffe SpA has promoted Nicholas Kirkwood to the postof creative director of the Pollini brand, which will focus on its coreaccessories business and shutter its apparel division.

TheItalian manufacturer — which, in addition to Pollini, produces anddistributes collections for Alberta Ferretti, Moschino, Jean PaulGaultier and Cacharel — tapped Kirkwood to spearhead Pollini’saccessories division in May 2008. At the time, Jonathan Saunders alsojoined Pollini as ready-to-wear director, but he has since left thecompany. The two men succeeded Rifat Ozbek at the end of his four-yearcontract.

Kirkwood’s first collection for Pollini will bow forspring during Milan Fashion Week later this month.

“This is aprecise signal for the future of the brand,” said Massimo Ferretti,executive chairman of Aeffe. “The Pollini world is associated withaccessories, and this decision shows that we want to recover the labeland position it accordingly.”

Ferretti contended that expandingwith apparel “was a great operation, but it diluted the brand.”

Aeffetook control of Pollini at the end of 2000 and introduced an apparelline in 2003. Pollini produces accessories for the brands in the Aeffestable.

Ferretti said Aeffe’s new focus on Pollini will helpfurther dispel recent rumors that he was set on selling the brand. Theexecutive conceded accessories in the first half “suffered the most,”and hoped this decision will help bring the brand back on track. In thefirst six months of the year, sales of rtw dropped 4.9 percent, totaling85.8 million euros, or $114.1 million, while sales of footwear andleather goods declined 19.2 percent to 22.3 million euros, or $29.6million.

Kirkwood, who hails from London’s Central Saint Martins,won the Who’s on Next talent search in 2007 as best accessoriesdesigner, was Footwear News’ Designer of the Year in 2008 and is aBritish Fashion Award nominee for accessories design.

In his newpost, Kirkwood is set to launch a project called “Pollini ForwardDesigners,” a collaboration with five emerging designers he selected.Pollini will produce shoes for their spring shows and thus help themexpand their brands, as none has a shoe line yet. The designers are:Preen, who showed on Sept. 12 in New York; Meadham Kirchhoff, Michaelvan der Ham and Louise Gray, who show in London, and Manish Arora, whoshows in Paris. These collections will be available in Pollini storesbeginning in February.

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