By  on May 27, 2005

PARIS — Stephen Fairchild is joining the masstige movement.

The designer, who recently had been showing an upscale signature collection during Milan Fashion Week, has joined Mexx Group BV as creative director of fashion, a new post based at Mexx headquarters in Amsterdam.

Mexx president Adu Advaney said Fairchild's task would be to bring more "coherence and consistency" across its various divisions, which span women's wear, men's wear, children's wear, activewear, accessories and junior fashions.

His influence should be felt beginning with the firm's spring 2006 collections and should help the brand make better inroads into the U.S. market, Advaney added.

At present, Mexx, a subsidiary of Liz Claiborne Inc., operates eight locations in the northeastern U.S., but there are plans to add six more American locations this year and another 20 in 2006.

Fairchild said his three-year-old signature collection, produced in conjunction with the Mariella Burani Fashion Group, would be put on hold while he concentrates on building Mexx's "brand equity foundation." The last Stephen Fairchild collection shipped to stores was for the current spring season.

American-born, Brussels-based Fairchild began his career in fashion working for houses such as Giorgio Armani, Calvin Klein, Polo Ralph Lauren and Valentino.

But Mexx is not his first brush with more affordable design. He has also worked for Danish sportswear giant IC Cos. as design director of its In Wear women's wear line.

Meanwhile, Advaney said Mexx is still eyeing acquisitions as an avenue of expansion in Europe, although he declined to identify any potential targets. Mexx is said to be interested in midsize retail concepts and fashion brands that are ripe for pan-European expansion.

Mexx, which operates more than 300 freestanding stores in 45 countries, also markets the Liz Claiborne, Ellen Tracy, Lucky Brand, Enyce and Lady Enyce brands in Europe.

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