By  on December 20, 2011

Tommy Hilfiger Group has signed a global licensing deal with Ittierre SpA to manufacture and distribute the designer’s women’s and men’s runway collections, beginning with the fall 2012 collections.

Ittierre, based in Pettoranello, Italy, will produce and distribute apparel and the majority of accessories, with distribution focused on Europe, North America and Asia.

Distribution will extend from Tommy Hilfiger stores and include high-end wholesale, specialty and online retailers. The collections will also be sold in six showrooms throughout Europe, North America and Asia, following presentations during New York Fashion Week in February.

Fred Gehring, chief executive officer of Hilfiger, said the agreement will allow the company to broaden its upper-tier global distribution and reach new customers. “Over the past few years, the successful repositioning and elevation of the brand has led to an increase in the demand for our runway collections.” Previously the runway collections were manufactured by Studio Roscini, based in Spello, Italy, and were distributed by Hilfiger.

“Roscini is purely a manufacturer and they make beautiful product,” said Gehring. He said he decided to make the switch to Ittierre because he wanted the runway product to get more exposure. Ittierre will handle all production and distribution.

Antonio Bianchi, president and ceo of Ittierre, has been injecting new life into the firm, which, after two years of government-backed bankruptcy protection, was acquired in January by Albisetti SpA, founded and controlled by Bianchi. He said the Hilfiger license is the fifth awarded this year and the 10th overall in Ittierre’s portfolio, which has Karl Lagerfeld Paris, Pierre Balmain, Aquascutum, Galliano, Ermanno Scervino, C’N’C’ Costume National, Gianfranco Ferré, Fiorucci and Acht.

In an interview last month, Bianchi, who is based in Pettoranello, Italy, told WWD, “When our partners see the manufacturing capabilities of the company, which covers 120,000 square meters [1.3 million square feet] and the passion and skill of those working there, they are won over.”

Tommy Hilfiger will retain creative control over all collections. Peter Som and Simon Spurr will continue to collaborate on the women’s and men’s runway collections, respectively. Prices for the men’s and women’s runway collections are expected to range from $182 to $2,603, based on the current exchange rates. The entry price points are expected to be consistent with previous seasons, but will extend to include higher-level pricing for tailored clothing, dresses and leathers. The lines will be produced in Italy. The first collection distributed under the licensing agreement will be in stores in July.

The deal with Ittierre only includes the Runway designer collections. Hilfiger’s European and U.S. sportswear collections (which include the exclusive Macy’s lines) and are priced lower than runway, continue to be produced by Hilfiger in-house.

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