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Cacharel, Eley Kishimoto Split

Cacharel, the French brand known for its young sportswear, has chewed through another set of designers, Mark Eley and Wakako Kishimoto.

PARIS — Cacharel, the French brand known for its young sportswear, has chewed through another designing couple.

This story first appeared in the November 18, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The company on Monday said it had ended its association with British design couple Mary Eley and Wakako Kishimoto, known together as Eley Kishimoto.

The duo joined Cacharel in November 2007, and showed their first proper runway collection in October here, earning mixed reviews. Spring 2009 was their final collection for the house.

They had been tapped to replace another British designer couple, Suzanne Clements and Inacio Ribeiro, who spent seven years trying to rev up Cacharel.

The French company billed the split with Eley Kishimoto as “ending on a positive note.” The house said the decision stemmed from a “difference in creative vision.” Cacharel declined further comment.

Eley told WWD there was “a conflict over creative vision” and differences about “where the line should be going” commercially.

“The settlement was amicable, but we’re sorry because we felt like we had Cacharel in our blood, and it would have been great to have had more seasons to express our vision,” he said.

In a telephone interview, Eley suggested the two parties had differing views about how to adapt the collection to these tough times in the market.

“Everyone is having a rough time at retail, and I think Mr. Bousquet wanted certain commercial gains, while we wanted to focus on building the brand aesthetic. We didn’t want to be making dramatic changes,” he said.

Cacharel has had difficultly finding its way in recent years. Jean Bousquet, the brand’s founder, wants to give the brand new energy.

When he hired Clements and Ribeiro, Bousquet was intent on building business in important markets like America and Japan. When that collaboration fizzled, a decision was made to bring in Eley Kishimoto. It seemed to show Bousquet remained devoted to growing the brand.

The house has had trouble finding the right pricing and marketing strategy for its products in recent years, with efforts to grow in the United States finding mixed success.

Eley Kishimoto, meanwhile, will continue to show their main line collection at London Fashion Week, and are continuing with a global licensing agreement in Japan for the production of watches, jewelry, bags and kimonos.