By  on March 8, 2005

NEW YORK — Sigrid Olsen named Ellis Kreuger design director on Monday, luring him from Tocca, where he was head designer and creative director.

In addition to bringing another pair of creative eyes to his new home, Kreuger eases the burden on creative director Sigrid Olsen. She is increasingly busy with the brand’s licenses, store rollout and personal appearances.

“I’m spread a little bit thin,” said Olsen, who had been working directly with her 10- to 12-person design team. “Everything is growing, so I can’t keep doing all the different things I’ve been doing, but I’m still going to be really keyed into apparel.”

Olsen will continue to develop the concepts and color stories for the Sigrid Olsen better and premium offerings, while Kreuger will work directly with the design team to create the hundreds of looks necessary to get the brand into stores.

Kreuger joined Tocca in 1998. The company said it had been preparing for his departure for about six months and has fall and holiday lines completed.

“We’re good to go,” said a Tocca spokesman.

Kreuger, a native of Zimbabwe, has taken a path with plenty of twists on his way to Sigrid Olsen. He grew up on a tobacco farm, which he left at age 15 to live in Australia. He attended the London College of Fashion, but ended up restoring a chateau in France for four years before moving to New York, where he worked on Woody Allen films and freelanced for Daryl Kerrigan.

If it looks like Kreuger will have his hands full in his new role, he should be used to it. At Tocca, he had been head designer and creative director for ready-to-wear, knitwear and the Tocca Bambini girl’s collection.

He reports to Olsen. Consumers will see the impact of Kreuger’s arrival with spring 2006 deliveries.

“We wanted to find somebody we thought could hit the ground running,” Olsen said. “I was pretty skeptical, but he kind of dropped out of the heavens.”

Sigrid Olsen is part of Liz Claiborne Inc., which has big plans for the brand. Claiborne executive vice president Trudy Sullivan said “We are pursuing a multichannel distribution strategy for this brand.”

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