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Gaultier Licenses Stile Moda, Plans Lower-Prices JPG LIne

PARIS -- Jean Paul Gaultier has signed a license for Europe and North America with Stile Moda of Italy to produce a new line for women and men called JPG.<BR><BR>Gaultier will end its license with Onward Kashiyama of Japan for the Junior Gaultier...

PARIS — Jean Paul Gaultier has signed a license for Europe and North America with Stile Moda of Italy to produce a new line for women and men called JPG.

Gaultier will end its license with Onward Kashiyama of Japan for the Junior Gaultier collection and discontinue that line, said Donald Potard, Gaultier president. The fall-winter season will be the last for Junior Gaultier, he said.

The French designer will launch JPG with a Paris runway show in September for spring-summer 1995. The collection will consist of about 50 outfits each for men and women.

“The aim is to create a line that’s moderately priced and sportswear-oriented,” said Potard. “In a sense, we want to get back to what Junior Gaultier was in the beginning — a youthful line that was produced in industrial quantities. Instead, Junior Gaultier got too far away from its original idea and became too expensive.”

Currently, Junior Gaultier’s only sales point in the U.S. is in Galeries Lafayette’s New York specialty store. But Stile Moda’s managing director Massimo Gardel predicted that JPG will be in around 100 sales points in North America and between 400 and 500 in Europe by the end of 1995.

Neither Potard nor Gardel would provide sales projections. Stile Moda launched Katharine Hamnett jeans and activewear in the U.S. two years ago. Now Hamnett has annual North American wholesale sales of $4 million, according to Gardel.

JPG will be sold through Stile Moda’s New York showroom, which handles the Hamnett line.

The house of Gaultier was understood to have been unhappy at what it saw as a less than forceful commitment by Kashiyama to Junior Gaultier. Nonetheless, Kashiyama’s worldwide license for Gaultier’s top line, Jean Paul Gaultier, would continue, Potard said.

[In New York, Masahiko Todoroki, president of Kashiyama USA, the U.S. arm of Kashiyama, confirmed Thursday that the Junior Gaultier license was ending, but added that it doesn’t affect Kashiyama’s U.S. operation, as the line was sold from Paris. He also confirmed that Kashiyama is continuing with the Gaultier signature collection.]

“We believe in Jean Paul Gaultier,” Gardel said. “There have been problems of late, but the market is turning in his direction. After three years of basics, people have got their confidence back and want fashion and clothes with some humor, especially in the U.S.” Potard added that he had been in talks with several Italian manufacturers about creating the new line. “But we know Stile Moda well and feel that they are really going to get behind JPG,” he said.

Stile Moda, based just outside Milan, is controlled by Massimo Ake Nuhi, a former partner of Fiorucci. In fact, Potard noted, Stile Moda helped create Junior Moda when it began in 1988. Two years later, however, after Kashiyama bought control of Gibo, the Italian manufacturer that held the license for the line, the Japanese firm took control of the license.