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Peter Som has been named the designer of Les Copains’ contemporary Blue Collection. He will begin with the spring 2015 collection.
This story first appeared in the January 17, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Som, who will continue his namesake line, has previously collaborated with Kohl’s Design Nation, Lancôme Cosmetics, Tommy Hilfiger (where he served as women’s wear creative consultant for five seasons), Sferra Fine Linens, Manolo Blahnik and Anthropologie.
“I am delighted to officially join Les Copains as a designer for their contemporary Blue Collection,” said Som. “I continue to be impressed by Les Copains’ heritage story with a focus on incomparable knitwear, and I look forward to a long and productive relationship with Les Copains.”
Luca Bertolini, worldwide president and chief executive officer of Les Copains, added, “Peter joins Les Copains at a perfect time in our company’s history. The brand will benefit enormously from his sophisticated and modern design sensibility,” which he said will give the company a new edge.
Som, whose designs are known for their femininity, eclectic spirit and signature bold prints, has dressed such celebrities as First Lady Michelle Obama, Scarlett Johansson, Claire Danes, Camilla Belle, Mandy Moore, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Ginnifer Goodwin.
A native of San Francisco, Som graduated from Connecticut College, where he majored in art history. He continued his fashion and design studies at Parsons School of Design, and went on to work for such designers as Michael Kors, Calvin Klein and Bill Blass. He launched his namesake label in 1998. From 2007 to 2008, Som served as creative director for Bill Blass, and in 2009 he was brought in as a creative consultant at Hilfiger.
Les Copains was launched 60 years ago by Mario Bandiera, founder and chairman of parent company BVM SpA, based in Bologna, Italy. The brand has a history in fine knitwear. In light of his expertise with knitwear, Alessandro Dell’Acqua was tapped in February 2012 to design the main line, and left in September after three seasons. Over the years, Les Copains has worked with designers such as Antonio Marras, Antonio Berardi and Albino d’Amato.
Last summer, Les Copains tapped Bertolini as ceo to restructure the company. At the time, Bertolini said he was selected to create a team that would flank Bandiera to manage the company “in a more complex and global scenario,” and help grow and expand it around the world. Bertolini said Les Copains aimed to build the U.S. and Asian markets, China in particular, and Russia and the former Soviet Union countries, shifting away from Italy and Southern Europe.
Since his arrival, Bertolini has reviewed the group’s operations and restructured the business. The focus has been on increasingly expanding sales outside Italy, which were expected to account for 85 percent of revenues in 2013. Consolidated sales in 2012 totaled 63 million euros, or $80.6 million at average exchange, up about 8 percent compared with the previous year.