Leopoldo Durante Takes Creative Helm at Meltin’ Pot

Returns to firm as it modernizes its vision and assortment.

MILAN — Meltin’ Pot has tapped Leopoldo Durante as creative director.

The appointment of Durante, a veteran who has worked for designers including Rick Owens and Alexander McQueen, follows the June hiring of Armando Belleri as managing director. Durante succeeds Walter De Virgiliis, who joined the brand in 2009.

The designation of new directors signals a shift in the brand’s strategy as it aims to refresh its look and expand into new product categories.

“This is part of a process that started a while ago. We’re preparing the company for the coming years,” explained Meltin’ Pot chief executive officer Augusto Romano.

He spoke enthusiastically of Durante, who had been responsible for production at the company from 1996 to 1998. “We worked together years ago — I know what he can do,” said Romano. “He’s a jeans expert with a modern product vision.”

Romano added that new goals for Meltin’ Pot included increasing its production of tops and women’s wear, and modernizing the company’s DNA while playing with its established symbols, such as triangles and the color yellow.

During the next edition of the Pitti Uomo fair in Florence in January, Meltin’ Pot will showcase its fall 2013 collection at Gerard Loft, a multibrand shop specializing in trendy sportswear and shoes. The brand is also launching a restyled version if its B Side jeans from the Nineties, which will be on display alongside assorted T-shirts, sweaters and shirts. B Side jeans use a single fabric but are completely reversible, and Romano said they were very successful when first introduced.

“The market is at an important turning point,” said Romano. “Clients want something original, and the B Side jeans have always been recognizably part of Meltin’ Pot.”

Speaking of the outlook for 2013 in the denim market, he noted that while customers remained interested in purchasing denim and attracted by new, even unusual styles, the fragile economic climate might keep buyers in a cautious mood, limiting growth for companies.

Meltin’ Pot has about 1,500 wholesale distribution points and in 2011 opened its first monobrand store in Riccione, Italy. It also manufactures denim products for about 10 clients, said Romano.