MILAN — To give its numerous product categories a sharper focus, Wolford AG has appointed Antonio Berardi as creative director.

An announcement will be made today when the luxury hosiery maker will release sales results for the fiscal year ended April 30.

In his new role, Berardi will oversee the design and development of Wolford’s hosiery, bodywear, lingerie, swimwear, knitwear and woven apparel.

Growing the accessories business, especially belts and bags, is also on the agenda. His first collection will bow for spring 2007.

“I want to move the brand forward, give it more edge and make it more seasonal. I also need to make sure there is a better harmony between the various categories in terms of image and continuity. That’s missing right now,” said Berardi, who in addition to designing his namesake line consults for Trend Les Copains.

“We’ve known Berardi for some time and we’ve always wanted to work with him because he understands the various manufacturing steps,” said Holger Dahmen, Wolford’s chief executive officer.

He added the project falls into the firm’s desire to reposition Wolford as a luxury brand.

“We want to expand in ready-to-wear because our Swarovksi embroidered knit dresses made in a limited edition for our 55th anniversary sold beyond expectations. And they weren’t cheap,” said Dahmen. “It gave us the idea to branch out.”

Wolford, founded in 1969, has in recent years struck cobranding projects with Pucci, Missoni, Kenzo and Zac Posen. Since 2004, Wolford has been the licensee for Giorgio Armani’s hosiery.

Wolford is also moving full speed ahead with the remodeling of its 220 stores, which generate more than 40 percent of its total sales. Gone is the dark mood from the past, replaced by a fresher decor based on white wood, frosted glass and matte steel fixtures. Currently, 23 stores have been remodeled.

This story first appeared in the May 11, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.