By  on May 2, 2012

Italy’s WP Lavori in Corso has acquired the worldwide license to the Baracuta outerwear brand from The Baird Group. The first product from WP Lavori will be shown at Pitti Uomo in June for the spring 2013 season.

Baracuta, which was founded in 1937 in Manchester, England, is known for its iconic Harrington G9 and G4 blouson jackets, which have been worn by everyone from Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra to Arnold Palmer and later adopted by the Mod, ska and punk subcultures of the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies.

Cristina Calori, founder and president of WP Lavori, acquired Baracuta through a sibling company, which in turn granted the worldwide license to WP Lavori. The deal was finalized last year, with WP Lavori taking over the license at the beginning of this year and launching product next year.

For spring, WP Lavori will offer subtle changes to the classic Baracuta jackets in 24 new styles. The offering will include different collections in three price tiers, including an ivory label core line and a blue label designer range in collaboration with Kenichi Kusano, former creative director of Japan’s Beams+ label. Some designs will feature new Coolmax linings in the traditional Baracuta tartan pattern, and others will be quilted with PrimaLoft filling.

“For Cristina and myself, we remember the brand and the Harrington jacket as an icon when we were young. It’s like a 501 jean,” said Andrea Cane, creative director of WP Lavori. The Bologna-based company, which rang up $150 million in sales last year, also holds the worldwide licenses for the Woolrich John Rich & Bros., Woolrich Woolen Mills, B.D. Baggies and Avon Celli brands, as well as various distribution rights for Barbour and Blundstone.

WP Lavori is targeting Baracuta for 160 doors in Italy, 100 in Germany, 50 in the U.K., 20 in Scandinavia, 20 in the U.S. and 50 in Japan during its first season. The company will focus on outerwear for the first few seasons and then plans to add knitwear and additional lifestyle categories down the road.

“We need to reposition the brand in the best stores around the globe,” said Cane. “We need to recover its positioning in outerwear. It hasn’t been treated the way it should be treated. The quality of the product was very low.”

Currently Baracuta rings up $2.5 million in sales annually, not counting a Japan license that did about $4 million but which has been terminated and brought back in-house, according to Cane. WP Lavori is planning to reach $10 million in Baracuta sales globally within three years.

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