PARIS — Cacharel has named Ling Liu and Dawei Sun, the design duo behind the label Belle Ninon, as artistic directors for its women’s, men’s and children’s collections, as well as accessories.
This story first appeared in the June 7, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The Chinese designers will present their first collection for spring in a catwalk show during Paris Fashion Week in October, the French brand said Monday.
The pair met as students at the Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture in Paris. Liu, from Harbin, won the grand prize at the Trophées Saint Roch, which rewards third-year students at the school, in 2005. She has worked in the commercial and design departments of Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent.
Sun, from Dalian, won the grand prize at the 22nd International Competition of Young Fashion Designers, an international contest organized by Air France in partnership with the Fédération Française de la Couture, du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode, in 2004. He has worked in the design studios of Lolita Lempicka, Balenciaga and John Galliano.
The duo succeeds Belgian designer Cédric Charlier, who was ousted in March despite winning mostly favorable reviews for his collections. Massimo Ferretti, executive chairman of Cacharel’s licensee, Aeffe SpA, said at the time that he strongly disagreed with the decision.
Liu and Sun’s nomination comes at a time of intense turnaround for European brands, with new creative directors appointed recently at Chloé and Balmain, and companies including Christian Dior and Azzaro seeking new creative leadership.
The Web site for Belle Ninon describes their creative partnership as “based on complementary styles and sensibilities — the comfortable and fluid feminine lines of Ling’s aesthetic, combined with Dawei’s structured tailored forms.”
The Cacharel brand, which shot to fame in the Sixties and Seventies with its youthful, romantic style, is trying to regain its footing after implementing a restructuring plan last year that involved selling its outlet stores and men’s wear division in order to preserve jobs and fund future development.