By  on July 28, 2008

BERLIN — Rena Lange’s creative director Frauke Gembalies is leaving the Munich fashion house, effective Friday. She will not be replaced in this position.

Gembalies joined Rena Lange in January 2006 in order to modernize the German women’s wear collection known for its ladylike detailing. “Frauke did a great job in moving us forward via merchandising, catalogues and image. And we have categories now we didn’t have before,” said Lange president Daniel Gunthert.

Both Gembalies and Gunthert emphasized it was a cordial parting of the ways. “It’s a wonderful house and the collection is on a good path,” said Gembalies. “But Daniel now wants to concentrate more on the German and neighboring markets, which is difficult for me. I have a more modern orientation.”

Gunthert concurred. “She’s obviously a designer who wants to go forward, but our collection can’t afford further modernization at the moment,” he said. “We’re at the point where we have to digest the modernization to date. We can’t reinvent Rena Lange in two years.”

However, he added, “In these two years we’ve gone forward a lot in the U.S. and have increased business substantially with Neiman Marcus. And we’re growing in Eastern Europe.”

Germany and Japan, Lange’s two other key markets, are more or less flat, he acknowledged.

“For us, Germany is our core market, and right now, the market’s not easy in general. No one is bullish. But you have to work for your customer and make her happy. This is not the time for experiments.”

Lange’s design director for the last five years, Julian Neil, will now be joined by Karsten Fielipz as senior designer as of September. Fielipz was most recently at Moschino.

Gembalies, who worked closely with Albert Kriemler at Akris prior to joining Lange, plans to take a little downtime. “It’s a perfect time to travel. I want to go to Japan and India,and I need a break to know what I want to focus on,” she said . “But in the future, I want to be [active] in the purely creative sphere. And I won’t be staying in Germany. I think I’ll be building the next chapter out of Paris.”

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