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Kokosolaki to Design Diesel Black Gold

Designer Sophia Kokosalaki regains control of her company.

MILAN — Sophia Kokosalaki is facing change.

The London-based designer will take on a lead design role in the development of Diesel’s high-end contemporary line, Black Gold. Her title and start season will be determined shortly.

“[Kokosalaki’s] talent is incredible. Her taste in high-end fashion is already known, but what people do not necessarily expect from her is her skill in dealing with denim and contemporary casual, the core of Diesel Black Gold. I hope this experience will give her the possibility to further affirm her place in today’s international fashion scenario,” said Renzo Rosso, chairman of Diesel and its holding company, Only the Brave.

At the same time, the Greek designer has acquired her namesake company from Only the Brave for an undisclosed sum.

Kokosalaki, who nearly always wears black and denim, launched her signature collection in 1999 and sold the company to Only the Brave two years ago. Under Rosso, she expanded it to include accessories and costume jewelry.

Diesel Black Gold, which made its debut during New York Fashion Week in February 2008, won’t stage a spring show in September.

Thanks to the use of more expensive fabrics, the line is positioned at a higher level compared with Diesel and Diesel Denim Gallery. Retail prices range from $500 to $800 for tailored jackets and $200 to $400 for shirts and pants.

“It is always inspiring to work with people at the top of their game. This is a very fortuitous time for me and my business,” said Kokosalaki of her Diesel Black Gold agreement.

One of the highlights of Kokosolaki’s career was designing the costumes for the opening ceremony of the 2004 Olympic games in Athens. She started showing in Paris that same year, and in 2006, was tapped to design Vionnet, which she did for less than a year. In 2007, Kokosalaki posted annual sales of $650,000.

Now that Kokosalaki has regained control of her brand, she will continue to develop the line on an independent basis.