By  on February 19, 2010

MILAN — Walter Burani has resigned as chairman of the Mariella Burani Fashion Group S.p.A. and of its board, effective immediately. In a terse statement, the group’s board said it “acknowledges” his decision.

Over the weekend, MBFG, which has debts of more than $600 million, said it was seeking bankruptcy protection and was asking to be put into administration.

Burani founded the company, then called Selene, in 1960 with his designer wife Mariella Burani, as a producer for children’s wear. The Buranis moved on to women’s ready-to-wear collections a decade later, and in 1993 they signed a license with Valentino to produce and distribute the Carisma and Carisma Rouge lines, followed in 1999 by a license for the Collection line for women for Calvin Klein. That year, they also took control of the historical Mila Schon brand. With their sons Andrea and Giovanni, the Buranis listed the company on the Milan Stock Exchange in 2000, and began building an apparel and accessories conglomerate over the following decade, expanding in other areas such as food, with different companies under the Burani Designer Holding N.V. umbrella, piling up their debt as they went along.

Last week, a Milan court declared the bankrupcty of parent company BDH, which is based in Amsterdam and which is now also under investigation for fiscal fraud.

The Buranis have failed to provide fresh funds for a capital increase and to negotiate a restructuring deal with its creditors, a pool of at least 40 banks.

MBFG produces and distributes collections for fashion brands such as Giambattista Valli, La Perla and Vivienne Westwood, among others.

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