By  on January 9, 2009

MILAN — Gianfranco Ferré has widened the brief of creative directors Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi to include men’s wear.

In a widely anticipated move, the Italian label named Aquilano and Rimondi as men’s wear designers Friday, five months after appointing them heads of women’s wear.

The pair, who made their Ferré women’s debut in September, will unveil their first men’s collection Jan. 18 during Milan Fashion Week.

Aquilano told WWD that he and Rimondi, who together founded 6267 before leaving to launch their eponymous label Aquilano & Rimondi, were excited to be making their first foray into men’s wear at Ferré, even if they were a little nervous.

“There is always a bit of risk involved when doing something for the first time, but that’s the role of the designer: to propose new ideas, and [in this case] to find a balance with Ferré’s history,” Aquilano said.

Operated by IT Holding SpA, the label’s men’s wear has been rudderless since Gianfranco Ferré’s death in June 2007. Swedish designer Lars Nilsson was ousted as creative director at Ferré in February 2008 after only two months in the job. Since then, the men’s wear has been designed by an in-house creative team.

“Extending the collaboration of Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi to the men’s lines is a natural evolution in perfect sync with the style coherence and continuity essential for fulfilling and enhancing the brand’s prestige,” Ferré’s chief executive officer Michela Piva stated, adding that men’s wear accounted for 30 percent of the brand’s business.

The designers said they had scoured the Ferré archives and referenced sartorial styles from the Sixties and Seventies for their upcoming collection.

Known for their architectural and tailored approach to design, they added that they had “worked closely with textiles and forms,” citing a dimensional leather jacket with neoprene finish, a wool scarf meant to look like fur and constructed knitwear with a handcraft finish.

“We want to mix sartorial aspects with something a little more avant-garde for a sophisticated man who wants to live life in a relaxed way,” Aquilano said. “What we want is to keep translating the Gianfranco Ferré style with a modern twist, respecting Ferré’s values and his existing customer base.”

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