Daniel Kearns to Serve as Façonnable Artistic Director

The Dublin-born designer recently joined the Nice, France-based fashion house from Yves Saint Laurent.

PARIS — Façonnable has tapped Daniel Kearns as its new artistic director as it embarks on a repositioning and expansion drive, WWD has learned.

This story first appeared in the September 12, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The Dublin-born designer recently joined the Nice, France-based fashion house from Yves Saint Laurent, where he was men’s wear design director under Stefano Pilati, its previous creative director.

Kearns is to unveil his first collections in November during the pre-fall men’s market in New York, including an expanded and upgraded selection of tailored clothing.

“Evolving the brand, and going back to its roots” is how Kearns, 38, described his approach to Façonnable, founded in 1950 by Jean Goldberg.

“It’s the brand that is most associated with the glamour of the French Riviera,” Kearns said, recounting how Goldberg used to receive Hollywood greats like Cary Grant in his tailoring shop during the annual Cannes Film Festival.

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Kearns joins Façonnable having worked with John Galliano, who recruited the graduate of London’s Royal College of Art when he launched Galliano men’s wear in 2002. Three years later, Kearns joined Lee Alexander McQueen to become his design director for his men’s wear until McQueen’s death in 2010.

The suave, soft-spoken Kearns has also designed travel and sailing collections for Louis Vuitton.

Dressed in a navy blazer, jeans and white shirt with a foulard tucked inside, Kearns said a troll through the Façonnable archives revealed Goldberg’s penchant for unusual fabric mixes, distinct use of color and practical garments such as reversible blousons.

He said he would continue to cultivate the brand’s more mature clientele — aged 35 to 60 — while targeting new customers with an expanded offering.

Sportswear and accessories, and small selections of tailoring, are to be grouped under the new F.Façonnable label while the new premium tailored range is to bear the Façonnable name encircled in an archival oval insignia. Suit prices for the latter are to retail in the ballpark of 1,200 euros, or $1,584 at current exchange, versus 800 to 900 euros, or $1,056 to $1,188, for F.Façonnable.

The company reunited with its historic Italian apparel manufacturer, Cantarelli, located near Florence, and Kearns plans to offer both structured and soft shoulders in a range of drops and fits, including brass-button blazers along with selections of occasion and formalwear.

Kearns’ first designs for women are to be unveiled in January.

In his new design post, Kearns will reunite with Ludovic Le Gourrièrec, a former YSL executive with a strong track record of jump-starting men’s wear businesses. Last July, he was named Façonnable’s new deputy managing director. Kearns had also worked with Le Gourrièrec at Galliano.

Lebanon-based M1 Group owns Façonnable, which last year generated revenues of almost 170 million euros, or $217.6 million at average exchange.