NEW YORK — DKNY Jeans is headed to Europe.
In the first brand extension announced since LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton acquired Donna Karan International last year, the firm has signed a letter of intent to enter a licensing agreement with SINV, an Italian company, to make and distribute men’s and women’s DKNY Jeans in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand. Liz Claiborne Inc. continues to hold the long-term licenses for DKNY Jeans and DKNY Active collections in the Americas.

Fred Wilson, who was named chief executive officer of DKI less than two weeks ago, announced the license on Tuesday, a day after naming Mary Wang as president of DKNY, Carol Sharpe as president of retail and Peter Speliopoulos as vice president and design director for the Donna Karan New York brand. If it sounds like a lot of action, that’s partly because the deal with SINV was already in the works, having been initiated by Wilson’s predecessor, Pino Brusone, who remains chairman of DKI.

During an interview on Tuesday, Wilson described Brusone’s participation in the executive transition as highly involved and said: "What he’s accomplished here is substantial and significant."

"This association with SINV, initiated by my predecessor, is a critical step in the global development of DKNY Jeans, furthering the brand’s accessibility to the world as a label that represents all things New York," Wilson said on Wednesday.

Liz Claiborne has developed the DKNY Jeans business in the Americas for the past five years. In the new deal, the collection with SINV is planned to launch for fall 2003, although the consummation of a license remains subject to the final signing of such an agreement.

SINV produces and distributes several designer jeans and sportswear collections through its control of companies Sportswear International and Neo Res, which manage the licenses of Moschino Jeans, Voyage Passion, Krizia Jeans, See by Chloé and JPG by Gaultier. SINV also owns the label VictorVictoria, as well as a 30 percent stake in Maison Moschino and 20 percent of Maison Voyage.

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