By and  on December 1, 2005

MILAN — Two more fashion brands have jumped into the hotel business: Missoni and Byblos.

Missoni, which has a successful home furnishings collection, has signed a worldwide licensing agreement with Rezidor SAS Hospitality, a Belgian hotel chain. The plan is to develop and operate 30 small- to medium-sized venues called Hotel Missoni by 2010.

Rezidor SAS is currently negotiating sites in the U.K., Continental Europe, Russia, Asia Minor and the Middle East.

The first three Hotel Missonis are slated to open in 2007 and are expected to include units on Palm Island in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and in Edinburgh. Other target destinations include London, Paris, Amsterdam, St. Petersburg, Milan and Istanbul.

By 2010, Vittorio Missoni, the fashion house's marketing manager, forecasts sales for the project to be more than $350 million.

"We were approached by Rezidor SAS some time ago and jumped at the opportunity because the home collection, whose sales will exceed $23 million this year, is an important segment for the brand," said Missoni. "We are protective of what our parents built and will never sacrifice the values of that business at the expense of short-term growth, but we found the right partners in Rezidor SAS."

He added that hotels are a natural extension of Missoni's core business and a perfect complement to its fashion, home collections and fragrances.

The interiors, naturally, will be decorated in colorful patterns similar to those that catapulted Missoni to fame. Rosita Missoni, co-founder of the colorful knits, with her husband, Tai Missoni, designs Missoni Casa. Besides Rosita Missoni and Rezidor SAS, the design of the hotels will be developed with Studio Thun, the Milan-based design studio headed by Matteo Thun.

"Rosita is ecstatic about this project. She can't wait to start designing more sheets and tabletops," said Vittorio Missoni.

"The deal with Missoni has grown into a relationship, and that's the only way that a brand like this can develop," said Kurt Ritter, president and chief executive officer of Rezidor SAS. "It's a unique brand with a great heritage, a very identifiable look and real family values. I'm sure that when we launch the first hotel, in 2007, it will make quite an impact on the market."

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