PARIS — Japanese retail giant Fast Retailing Co. Ltd. has tapped Lars Nilsson as artistic director of its two European brands, Comptoir des Cotonniers and Princesse Tam Tam, WWD has learned.

This story first appeared in the January 15, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“I am [pleased] to welcome Lars Nilsson to the Fast Retailing team as artistic director in residence, working with our European brands,” said Nancy Pedot, chief executive officer of Comptoir des Cotonniers and Princesse Tam Tam.

She said Nilsson’s initial six-month assignment “will be dedicated to accompanying the implementation of a research and development project in terms of creative inspirations, trends, style, silhouettes and fabric.”

A spokesman for the brand clarified that this was “a new job” and that Nilsson was not replacing Amélie Gillier, who served as creative director before parting ways with the company last November. “His role is more global,” he said.

The Swedish designer, who has helmed a range of fashion houses including Bill Blass, Nina Ricci and Gianfranco Ferré, and designed a signature men’s wear collection called Mr. Nils, has recently focused on freelance design work for various companies. He also has contributed to magazines including Acne Paper and Architectural Digest.

Gillier left the brand after less than a year in the role of creative director, joining it from Zadig & Voltaire, where she was artistic director. She revamped Comptoir des Cotonniers’ collections, injecting a more rock ’n’ roll and darker sensibility into the line for fall.

She departed only a month after Pedot was named ceo of the two brands. Pedot, an American, previously has been president and ceo of Gymboree in the U.S. as well as Party City.