Milan — Valentino SpA has signed a licensing agreement with Marchon Eyewear Inc. for the production and distribution of its eyewear collection, terminating its 13-year pact with Safilo Group.

This story first appeared in the June 22, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The five-year agreement is effective Jan. 1, with the first collection of sunglasses and prescription frames slated to bow later that month.

Stefano Sassi, chief executive officer of Valentino, said they singled out Marchon because, just like Puig Beauty for its fragrances, the company believes in the Valentino project, and in the extension of its core business, embracing it with determination.

“Marchon is a relevant and committed reality in this sector with a strong presence in the U.S. and in Europe, which are also key markets for Valentino,” said Sassi.

After Ferragamo and Lacoste, this new venture furthers Marchon’s commitment to expand and grow its European portfolio. “Valentino is still one of the most coveted brands in fashion eyewear,” said Claudio Gottardi, Marchon president and ceo, adding that implementing distribution in Europe and Asia is a short-term priority.

With an average retail price of between 200 and 250 euros, or $285 to $357, the frames will be available in some 5,000 to 10,000 points of sales in the first year.

Gottardi estimated sales as in the “tens of million of euros” range. 

The collection will reflect Valentino’s timeless elegance, drawing inspiration from the materials, colors, textures and prints of the ready-to-wear collections, accessories and iconic pieces.

“The most representative eyewear style is the iconic Rockstud model, a classic shape embossed with gold studs,” said co-designer Maria Grazia Chiuri. “This new collection speaks about the classic and historic values of the brand, blended in a contemporary manner.”

Marchon is one of the world’s largest eyewear manufacturers whose licensors include Calvin Klein, Coach, Diane von Furstenberg, Emilio Pucci, Fendi, Jil Sander, Karl Lagerfeld, Michael Kors, Nike and Salvatore Ferragamo. Based in New York, it operates in more than 100 countries.

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