Paul Raffin has been appointed group chief executive officer of Frette Inc., succeeding Enrico Marinelli.

Raffin said Marinelli will stay on as an executive vice president and will be involved with licensing and emerging markets.

Raffin will oversee all operations of the Italian luxury linens and home accessories retail and wholesale businesses that generate combined annual sales in excess of $100 million, according to industry estimates. Raffin, who joined Frette in 2007 as ceo of the North American operations, will absorb his former duties into his new post.

In other areas, Scott Formby has been named creative director of Frette. The post had been vacant for several years. Formby, who will be responsible for all aesthetic decisions for the Frette brand, including product and store design, was most recently creative director for Lucky Brand Jeans.

The Milan-based company, acquired in 2006 by JH Partners, a private equity firm in San Francisco that also owns La Perla and Jurlique, will continue a retail rollout and expansion of its international wholesale operations and e-commerce business, said Raffin. Since November, Frette has opened its 10th signature store at the Americana Manhasset Mall in Manhasset, N.Y., and flagships are planned in Boston at The Mandarin Oriental Hotel and in New York, where a House of Frette flagship is under construction at 799 Madison Avenue. The Frette shop at ABC in Manhattan will double in size. Frette products are available at more than 100 locations worldwide.

“We are going to be focusing on retail store openings both in the U.S. and internationally,” said Raffin, who served as president of Express stores for 10 years before joining Frette. “We also are seeing double-digit growth, 15 to 25 percent, in our international wholesale division. We’ll have a lot of international growth, and we are looking at further providing Frette products within leading properties globally, such as hotels, resorts, spas and restaurants. We also envision double-digit growth with our e-commerce business, the platform of which is chiefly the U.S. business, and opportunities outside the U.S., as well.”

Raffin said within the next year, the firm is targeting stores in Houston, Miami and Atlanta, as well as Hong Kong, and additional growth in the Middle East and other international markets.

This story first appeared in the February 12, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“We have a store in St. Petersburg and may be looking to push [further] into the Russian market, as well,” he said. “Everything over there is going great guns.”

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