PARIS — The house of Vionnet has lost another designer.
This story first appeared in the January 14, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Less than a year after it hired Marc Audibet to replace Sophia Kokosalaki as its head designer, Audibet on Friday said he was leaving because of management’s “incapacity” to create the “material and financial conditions” necessary to make collections.
The Frenchman said he was “obliged” to leave Vionnet and felt “much sadness” at the end of the collaboration.
In a statement, Vionnet said the house was in the midst of “signing a new financial partnership in which Marc Audibet has no place.” It shrugged off Audibet’s accusation of financial troubles as “groundless.”
“Next week the house of Vionnet will announce a new artistic direction as well as a new financial partnership,” said the house. It said a fall collection, which is being designed by a team, would be presented during fashion week in Paris next month.
A former Prada and Hermès designer, Audibet was brought in last May to replace Kokosalaki, who was hired a year earlier to relaunch the legendary label, with a heritage of intricately draped evening gowns.
Audibet showed his first collection to press and buyers in October in a small showroom presentation.
Barneys New York carries Vionnet exclusively in the U.S., though Vionnet has said it hopes to open up wholesaling to other clients in the U.S. in the next year or so.
Kokosalaki left Vionnet after the Greek designer sold her own business to Staff International, the manufacturing arm of Italy’s Diesel fashion company.