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Capucci Ends Relaunch Bid

Two years after a much-publicized relaunch, Franco Bruccoleri, chief executive officer of Capucci Corp., confirmed that the company's ready-to-wear line is being suspended.

MILAN — Capucci is one of the latest fashion casualties.

Two years after a much-publicized relaunch, Franco Bruccoleri, chief executive officer of Capucci Corp., confirmed that the company’s ready-to-wear line is being suspended.

“It’s the end of a dream we had all worked so hard for. We were a group of poets and this was a magnificent project,” said Bruccoleri in a phone interview.

The last collection was produced for spring 2005. The executive said he had to close the company despite positive reaction from buyers, and attributed the decision to a difficult market.

“With our last season, we counted 87 clients, and all were very pleased with the product, but, unfortunately, some of our shareholders pulled back and were no longer willing to invest money in the project,” he said.

While some sources say the financial difficulties are serious, Bruccoleri said he was working at “fixing problems that arose in an already difficult moment. We are honest professionals and we are looking for a more adequate financial solution.”

Sources here say the economy did not help the business, but some said Bruccoleri underestimated the challenges of launching a new collection. “There were a lot of initial investments that were not followed up by a true expansion of the brand,” said one source.

Bruccoleri was adamant that design and style were not issues, praising Bernhard Wilhelm, the brand’s creative director. “Bernhard is one of the best designers in the world and we have a fraternal relationship that was not ruined by these problems,” he said.

Wilhelm and his partner, Jutta Kraus; Imitation of Christ designer Tara Subkoff, and Spain’s Sybilla were the design team chosen by Bruccoleri to create the rtw line, reimagining Roberto Capucci’s exclusive couture designs. The first collection bowed for fall 2003.

Capucci was a fixture at the rtw presentations here and fully supported Bruccoleri’s project. “I accepted [a role in] this project because the intention, right from the start, was to create ready-to-wear that would reflect the thought and the idea of uniqueness that went with my profession as couturier, and which would not reproduce complicated dresses in second-choice clothes,” he said at the time.

This story first appeared in the July 13, 2005 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The elegant Capucci was known in the Sixties and Seventies for his constructed looks, and his use of pleats and such innovative materials as stones combined with various fabrics and nylon. The couturier was not available for comment at press time.

Bruccoleri, a respected figure in the fashion industry here who began his career in distribution and introduced to Italy such designers as John Galliano, Dries Van Noten and Helmut Lang, said he terminated the Capucci collection as a sign of respect for Capucci, “whose name must be protected.”