Mehdi Benabadji

PARIS — Kering has named Mehdi Benabadji chief executive officer of Brioni, tapping a high-level executive from within its ranks to reposition the brand and expand it abroad.

Benabadji, who has been chief operating officer of Kering, in charge of the group’s logistics and industrial activities, will report to Kering managing director Jean-François Palus. His appointment takes effect Jan. 1.

He succeeds Fabrizio Malverdi, who is leaving the group.

Benabadji, who started his career as a consultant, joined Kering in 2003, and worked on development and strategy of Brioni after Kering—then known as PPR—acquired the label in 2011 from the descendants of the company’s founders, Nazareno Fonticoli and Gaetano Savini.

The executive has also worked for LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton label Berluti and Hermès International’s crystal glasswear label Saint-Louis. He was also temporarily in charge of Kering’s Italian porcelain label Richard Ginori after the departure of Giovanni Giunchedi this year.

Brioni recently recruited Brad Pitt to front its next advertising campaign, set to run in January and kick off the label’s 75th anniversary celebrations. Pitt follows in the footsteps of fellow Hollywood legends Pierce Brosnan, Anthony Hopkins and Samuel L. Jackson in the role.

Pitt has been known to wear tailoring on the red carpet, sporting black bespoke Brioni tuxedos at the Cannes Film Festival and the Venice Film Festival this year.

Brioni plans to unveil its fall 2020 collection, designed by creative director Norbert Stumpfl, at the upcoming Pitti Uomo in Florence.

As reported, the label tapped Olivier Saillard to curate the presentation, which will be staged on the inaugural day of the men’s wear trade show on Jan. 7 in an undisclosed location.

The event marks a return to the Tuscan city for Brioni, which staged a runway show at Palazzo Pitti in 1952, casting a store manager of the brand’s boutique in Rome as a model on the runway.

The brand has struggled to find the right register in recent years, as seen by the succession of ceo’s and head designers at its helm. Palus over a year ago referred to Brioni as a “work in progress,” before the label revealed it was parting ways with its previous designer Nina-Maria Nitsche, after only one year, and who had been the third creative director in less than three years. She had moved the brand back toward its classic tailoring tradition, following her predecessor’s experiment with see-now-buy-now format with an emphasis on Seventies looks, and a campaign with rock band Metallica. Seeking to adapt to changes in consumer preferences and introduce more relaxed styles, executives last year said they were working to expand its proportion of sportswear.

Stumpfl has been producing luxurious and lightweight collections for the label, modernizing and softening tailored looks by stripping out lining, and working colorful silk into eveningwear.

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