MILAN — The newly appointed administrators for Ittierre SpA are to take legal action against Roberto Cavalli for his comments regarding the Just Cavalli license and their ability to turn the company around.

This story first appeared in the March 2, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The administrators, who were appointed last month after Ittierre filed for bankruptcy protection under the Italian equivalent of Chapter 11, stated Saturday they had tasked their lawyers with “protecting Ittierre SpA regarding industrial, economic and image damages derived from Mr. Roberto Cavalli’s repeated comments in reference to the Just Cavalli license and the activity of the administrators themselves.”

They added Cavalli’s decision to cancel his Just Cavalli fall show last week was “unilateral” and “unjustified with serious prejudice to Ittierre’s image” and underlined that the Gianfranco Ferré, C’N’C Costume National and Galliano shows were taking place in Milan and Paris.

However, on Sunday, Cavalli dismissed the proceedings as “just a political matter.”

“My contract with Ittierre expires in two seasons so I practically already have a foot outside. As far as I am concerned, [the contract] has expired,” Cavalli said on the sidelines of his Roberto Cavalli runway show. “I don’t understand their point of view.”

He added he had already asked Ittierre to terminate the contract “some months ago” for not having been paid 20 million euros, or $25.3 million, in royalties and repeated that he was looking for other “valid licensees.”

“For which reason, my cancellation [of the contract] is completely regular,” Cavalli said.

Renzo Rosso’s production and licensing unit Staff International SpA is understood to be waiting in the wings.

On Thursday, Cavalli, whose Just Cavalli label is Ittierre’s biggest license, generating annual revenues in 2007 of around 240 million euros, or $329 million, blamed Ittierre for having to cancel the younger line’s runway show, citing delays and substandard production. He opted for a presentation of 20 outfits at Just Cavalli’s showroom instead.

At the time, Cavalli also said he was prepared to take Just Cavalli’s production in-house if necessary, saying he doubted the administrators’ ability to turn Ittierre around. The license expires in 2010.

But on Friday, one of Ittierre’s three administrators, Andrea Ciccoli, said the company was back on its feet after obtaining a 30 million euro, or $38 million at current exchange, line of credit from five Italian banks.

“All areas of the company — production, sales and distribution — are back on track,” Ciccoli said, adding the new financing would be used to pay suppliers. However, he said other obligations would be frozen until he and his co-administrators presented a restructuring plan within the next six months.

Ciccoli also confirmed Ittierre was working to renew its contract with C’N’C Costume National.