MILAN — Gilles Rosier and clothing maker Vestebene-Miroglio are the latest example of the ever-evolving Italian-French connection. Backed by Miroglio, Rosier will introduce his first signature line on Feb. 28 with a fashion show here.

A designer with experience at Balmain, Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier and Kenzo, Rosier, 42, said at a news conference last week that he was ready to do his own line and had been searching for the right partner for two years.

Miroglio, which has a majority stake in the Maison Gilles Rosier, established in the second half of last year and based in Paris, will manage production, distribution and logistics. For Miroglio, based in Alba, about an hour from Turin, this is the first foray into the high end of the market. The $1 billion, 50-year-old company puts out 15 clothing brands, like bridge line Caractere and plus-size Elena Miró, which both bowed in the U.S. this year. Miroglio employs 8,000 people, produced 14 million clothing items last year and lists 750 stores around the world.

“This was a natural evolution for Miroglio, which has a complex and fragmented structure,” said Giuseppe Miroglio, president of Gilles Rosier and general manager of Miroglio. “We wanted to enter the luxury goods business to be more competitive.” He declined to be more specific about the investment in Rosier, saying it essentially revolved around opening the atelier and showrooms in Paris and Milan.

The company aims for sales of $62.6 million, or 50 million euros at current exchange, in five years. “This is not an enormous figure, but we want to preserve the brand’s artistic and exclusive identity,” said Riccardo Adamo, chief executive of the maison, formerly at Emanuel Ungaro in the same position. For the first season, the line will be available at 60 sales points globally, reaching 200 in five years. A flagship is also in the cards. The average retail price will be around $850.

Miroglio plans to launch a Rosier men’s line and a women’s second line for spring 2005 and expand the brand with fragrances, accessories and eyewear through licensing.

Rosier described his line as “easy chic, not too formal but sartorial, with a masculine touch.” For fall, Rosier is thinking of graphic lines, men’s shirts and redingotes, and some black pieces softened by contrasting hues, such as a powder pink lining. “I like to play with shadows and light, hidden details and modern embroideries,” he said.The designer’s first fashion show will be held at the city’s ice-skating rink. “The building has a Seventies entrance and, while having an essential feeling, it’s poetic: The setting reinforces the spirit of the collection,” said Rosier.

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