PARIS — Making a return to a high-visibility category, John Galliano on Thursday said he signed a five-year licensing agreement with Italy’s Marcolin to produce and distribute John Galliano eyewear.

This story first appeared in the July 25, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The fruit of the partnership will be unveiled next fall and will include men’s and women’s sunglasses and prescription frames.

The deal will become effective in September 2009 and will be renewable for another two years, under terms of the contract.

“Sunglasses and eyewear are essential accessories to make a statement on and off the runway and I am really excited to give them a Galliano twist,” said the designer. “I can’t wait to begin a new vision on vision.”

Galliano previously had an eyewear agreement with France’s Airess. But the company, which also produced frames for Kenzo and Cacharel, went bankrupt in 2003, leaving Galliano without a partner.

Marcolin, which is listed on the Milan Stock Exchange, produced some 5.5 million eyeglass frames and sunglasses last year. It holds licenses for brands including Tom Ford, Roberto Cavalli, Montblanc and Ferrari.

“John Galliano is a true genius,” said Maurizio Marcolin, style and licensing officer of Marcolin. “The new agreement further establishes Marcolin’s strategy in pursuing top luxury brands [with whom we can] exploit our competitive advantage.”

Marcolin said the distribution of Galliano’s eyewear would be “selective” and focused on the “most prestigious accounts and department stores worldwide, as well as John Galliano boutiques.”

Galliano has inked a series of licenses over the last year or so, including an agreement to produce swimwear with Italian manufacturer Albisetti, children’s wear with Diesel and a license for watches with Italy’s Morellato.