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Cerruti Names Knott Designer

Cerruti has changed designers again. The house said Thursday it replaced Nicolas Andreas Taralis with Jean-Paul Knott, the Belgian who has worked for Louis Feraud, Krizia and Yves Saint Laurent.

PARIS — Cerruti has changed designers again.

The house, which has torn through David Cardona, Roberto Menichetti and Istvan Francer in its recent attempts to get on track, said Thursday it replaced Nicolas Andreas Taralis with Jean-Paul Knott, the Belgian who has worked for Louis Féraud, Krizia and Yves Saint Laurent.

Taralis’ stint at Cerruti lasted just over a year. A former Dior Homme hand during Hedi Slimane’s reign, Taralis showed a Cerruti men’s runway collection in Paris in July. He never presented a women’s collection to the press.

Taralis’ men’s show was divisive. Some critics complained its focus on sharp tailoring in black and white shown against a wall of concert speakers was an ersatz version of Slimane’s Dior Homme.

Before Cerruti, Taralis earned a reputation for hard-edged women’s collections under his own name.

For his part, Knott actually joined Cerruti in March with the mission to revive its 1881 men’s and women’s diffusion business. Now he tacks on the responsibility for the first line, as well.

“Jean-Paul has shown an understanding of the Cerruti heritage and style,” said Philippe Cleach, Cerruti’s president. “We are impatient to see him develop the first lines. We wish Nicolas well for the future.”

Cerruti has proved a tough gig ever since house founder Nino Cerruti departed after he sold the business to the now-unraveled Italian conglomerate Fin.part in 2000. Last year, a new chance seemed to arrive when the $3.8 billion private equity firm MatlinPatterson acquired the house and recruited Taralis.

Knott has experienced the vagaries of the business, too. He was forced to shutter his signature line only to reopen it recently in a more modest incarnation. And his abortive attempt to put Féraud back on the fashion map met with difficult going.

This story first appeared in the October 26, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.