Halston Said to Tap Zanini as Designer

It looks like Halston has found the designer to spearhead its revival.

NEW YORK — It looks like Halston has found the designer to spearhead its revival.

This story first appeared in the July 13, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Sources said that the iconic brand, which was bought by the The Weinstein Co. and Hilco Consumer Capital LLC last March, is bringing in Marco Zanini as creative director. Zanini is currently a senior women’s and men’s designer at Versace, and based in Milan. Few details could be learned about the hire, and company officials could not be reached for comment.

Zanini is a constant fixture at Versace, working directly with Donatella Versace on the women’s and men’s wear collections.

The Weinstein Co. and Hilco bought Halston from Neema Clothing Ltd. and its owner, James J. Ammeen, and are looking to revive the label, which had its peak in the late Seventies when the namesake designer became a household name for slinky jersey ensembles and off-the-shoulder dresses tailor-made for the Studio 54 set.

Since the acquisition, the new owners have put together a team of experts to steer the turnaround. They include president and chief executive officer Bonnie Takhar, who joined from Jimmy Choo Ltd., where she served as chief commercial officer. Tamara Mellon, Jimmy Choo Ltd. founder and president, and stylist Rachel Zoe, are serving on Halston’s advisory board.

Halston died in 1990, and the label was first relaunched in 1997, with designers Randolph Duke, Kevan Hall, Craig Natiello, Piyawat Pattanapuckdee and Bradley Bayou passing through its doors. With movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s involvement, though, Halston garnered instant buzz and it has become one of the most anticipated comeback stories in fashion right now.

According to one source, Zanini has a quiet, likeable personality with an irreverent streak. He is said to have a particular strength in the eveningwear category, dreaming up innovative garments that the Versace atelier would then execute. Sources pegged him as a suitable choice for Halston, given that eveningwear has always been the label’s core competency.