By  on May 20, 2009

NEW YORK — Ending one of the most speculated-about searches in recent months, Halston has tapped London-based designer Marios Schwab as its new creative director, effective July 1.

WWD first reported that Halston was in talks with Schwab on March 10.

 The brand, which was acquired by Hilco Consumer Capital and The Weinstein Co. in 2007 and has since been working on a revival, will also launch the Halston Heritage collection. It will feature reproductions of original Halston looks at contemporary price points for spring 2010, which will be manufactured in a partnership with Li & Fung Ltd.

Schwab will be in charge of the house’s main collection. He succeeds Marco Zanini, who left the company last year after two rocky seasons as creative director of the revived line.

Half-Austrian and half-Greek, Schwab, 31, studied at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London, and launched his own label in 2005. He started showing his line during London Fashion Week in 2006.

His first collection for Halston will be unveiled next February for fall 2010.

Halston worked with Paris-based executive search expert Floriane de Saint Pierre to find the appropriate candidate.

Halston president and chief executive officer Bonnie Takhar said Schwab’s spring 2009 show in London caught the attention of Halston executives. “He used a lot of jersey in the collection in a very modern way,” Takhar said. “The silhouettes were also very fluid, and we thought they had a very modern Halston interpretation.”

Several meetings and a project Schwab submitted impressed the Halston board. “The DNA was very Halston-appropriate in terms of what we think Halston should be,” Takhar said. “His knowledge of the Halston brand really impressed us.”

Schwab’s earliest memory of Halston is the iconic image of Bianca Jagger on a white horse at Studio 54.

“Halston defines a moment in time, epitomizing the glamour, escapism and decadence of the 1970s,” he told WWD. “The simplistic yet unquestionably glamorous silhouettes embody the fantasy side of fashion.

“While Halston’s DNA is crucial to its future success, I very much wish to move the brand forward and make it relevant for today,” he added. “Simple, effortless pieces realized via modern [fabrics] and technology will play a large role in how I will redefine the brand. The clothes will echo the heritage but with a very distinctive, modern feel that is completely new and completely now.’’

Schwab, who will continue with his own namesake line, plans to relocate to New York. He will helm the design studio, and work with the shoe designer, handbag designer and ready-to-wear design assistants on the main collection.

Schwab’s own collection is sold at Barneys New York and Saks Fifth Avenue. Halston’s fall season was created by the in-house design studio, and Takhar said the timing was right to bring in Schwab. “Marco did a great job with helping us relaunch the brand and we now believe Marios will cultivate the DNA and as we grow the business,” she said. “It was the right time to bring in somebody to take it to the next stage.”

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