By  on July 22, 2005

MILAN — Designer Antonio Berardi, ready for a change and tired of struggling for a good slot during Milan Fashion Week, has defected to Paris to present his spring-summer 2006 collection.

“Milan has become very business-oriented, which means that aside from runway shows, there are a string of showroom presentations, press conferences, appointments and lunches that make it more difficult for smaller brands,” Berardi said in an interview. “In Paris, instead, it’s all about the shows.”

Berardi, whose thematic and extravagant vision blends with Paris’ avant-garde scene, started showing in Milan in September 1999, four years after he launched his namesake company.

“There is lots of flexibility on where designers show,’’ said Mario Boselli, president of the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana. “Berardi came to Milan from London, is now going to show in Paris and could return to Milan one day. There’s nothing dramatic in this global world, also because sooner rather than later, Milan and Paris will put out a joint calendar.”

In 2002, Berardi signed a licensing deal for production with Gibo’, the Italian manufacturer with a portfolio that includes Paul Smith, Jean Paul Gaultier, Michael Kors and Viktor & Rolf.

Alfredo Girombelli, managing director of Berardi, was upbeat about the solid foundations Gibo’ has set for the brand’s future, projecting 40 percent growth by yearend on the $4.8 million (4 million euros) sales posted in 2004. “The quality of our service, distribution and deliveries has increased significantly, which is why for the second season we can afford pre-collections,” Girombelli said.

The 120-piece pre-spring collection will start selling in the U.S on Aug. 3.

To mark the moment, Berardi has channeled $108,000 (90,000 euros) for its first ad campaign, which broke in Flair and Italian Vogue and will soon roll out to French, British and Russian books. Shot by Michelangelo di Battista in a Paris studio, the ads feature model of the moment Bianca Balti.

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