By  on September 8, 2005

MILAN — Gianni Versace SpA and IT Holding SpA said they are extending their licensing deal for the Versace Jeans Couture line and teaming up to launch a new high-tech collection called Versace Sport.

IT Holding's license to produce and distribute Versace Jeans Couture was set to expire in 2007 but the pact now extends through the fall 2012 season. The new Versace Sport collection will bow for fall 2006. Its licensing agreement will also expire with the fall 2012 season.

The announcement does not affect the future of Versus. IT Holding produces and distributes that line through 2007. Versace has stopped showing the diffusion line on the runway, and Versace chief executive officer Giancarlo Di Risio has said the company needs to focus creative resources on the namesake Versace ready-to-wear line as the company restructures to reduce its losses. Those developments have led some to speculate the line could be phased out altogether.

A spokesman for Barabino & Partners, the public relations agency that represents both IT Holding and Versace, said that it's "business as usual" regarding Versus.

IT Holding said in its statement the two companies have outlined a series of innovative projects in terms of style, product, distribution and store concepts for the jeans and sport lines. The companies' spokesman declined to give sales forecasts. More information on the lines could come Monday, when IT Holding reports first-half numbers.

IT Holding president and ceo Tonino Perna said in a statement that the deal with Versace would contribute to his company's "leadership in the younger lines segment and the consolidation of its license portfolio through long-term contracts."

In a Versace statement, Di Risio said the company's working relationship with IT Holding, which initiated in 1989, has been a fruitful one for both parties.

"Today [the relationship] has been strengthened to develop a new line — Versace Sport — which fits into our brand portfolio reorganization," he said. Di Risio is a former ceo of IT Holding.

The renewal is a significant development for IT Holding. In July, Dolce & Gabbana said it was ending its 12-year licensing pact with IT Holding for the production of the D&G diffusion line. Dolce & Gabbana will produce the line in-house beginning with the spring 2007 collection.IT Holding owns the Gianfranco Ferré fashion house as well as the Exte and Malo brands. Its Ittierre subsidiary holds production and distribution licenses for Just Cavalli and C'N'C Costume National.

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