PARIS — Balenciaga has a new eyewear partner in view.

This story first appeared in the February 2, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The French fashion and accessories house said Wednesday it is zeroing in on a licensing contract with Italy’s Marcolin SpA for the design, production and worldwide distribution of its sunglasses and prescription eyewear collections.

The new pact, which the two firms expect to finalize before the end of March, is for five years, renewable for an additional 10 years.

The first Balenciaga collection under Marcolin is to be presented next year.

“This new license will reinforce our mission: to create, produce and market products with unique, unmistakable and top-quality design,” stated Maurizio Marcolin, the eyewear firm’s style and licensing officer.

“Balenciaga is a perfect fit for our brand portfolio and broadens the luxury market that we target,” he added.

Publicly traded Marcolin produces eyewear under license for such names as Montblanc, John Galliano, Kenneth Cole, Roberto Cavalli, Tod’s, Diesel and Dsquared2. In 2010, it distributed some 5.5 million frames.

Balenciaga president and chief executive officer Isabelle Guichot said the Marcolin agreement “echoes our conviction with Nicolas Ghesquière that eyewear is definitely an essential fashion accessory which must be translated and marketed as such respecting brand vocabulary and iconic codes.”

Balenciaga, part of French retail-to-luxury conglomerate PPR, had inked a five-year license with Safilo Group in 2007. Safilo produces premium eyewear collections for several PPR brands, including Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Bottega Veneta and Yves Saint Laurent.

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