Puig has added more management muscle to Dries Van Noten, suggesting it is gearing up for a growth phase.
On Thursday, it named Matteo De Rosa president, a new post, and trumpeted his experience in “brand expansion” both in Europe and in Asia.
De Rosa joins the Antwerp-based fashion house from Ports International Enterprises Ltd., where he was managing director of its Ports 1961 label. There his mission was strengthening marketing strategies and distribution.
In a statement, the Dries company lauded De Rosa’s “inherent ability to operate seamlessly in cross-cultural environments.
“Importantly, he has a genuine respect and understanding of the creative process and mind-set, together with a comprehensive knowledge of all aspects of a fashion house,” it added.
The hire represents the first big business development for Dries Van Noten since it was acquired by Puig in June 2018.
Van Noten remains a minority shareholder in the company, and carries the title of chief creative officer and chairman of the board.
Neither the designer nor Puig executives were available for additional comment.
One of the original Antwerp Six, Van Noten comes from a family of tailors and is a graduate of Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts. He launched his label with men’s wear in 1986, and established his flagship, known as Het Modepaleis and located on the site of a historic department store, in his hometown in 1989.
He has boutiques in cities including Hong Kong, Tokyo, Paris and Seoul, some with partners, while key retail clients include Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Le Bon Marché, Harrods, Lane Crawford, Harvey Nichols and Shinsegae.
One of De Rosa’s first orders of business could be to compensate for the bankruptcy and closure of Barneys New York, long a key wholesale partner in the U.S. market.
De Rosa started his career at Ports in China, working in the group’s accessories department. He was later charged with overseeing the business development of the Ports 1961 brand, handling all the commercial strategies for the label.
He also has some fragrance experience, having worked at LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s Acqua di Parma early in his career. Puig, a specialist in fragrance marketing, plans to launch Dries Van Noten scents in the near future.
Like many Belgian designers, Van Noten had long resisted most of the common paths to growth, forgoing pre-collections, advertising, celebrity dressing and a handbag push.
Other Puig-owned fashion houses — Nina Ricci, Paco Rabanne, Jean Paul Gaultier and Carolina Herrera — have put most of their expansion and marketing efforts on the beauty business, more than fashion.
Puig’s beauty business is a mix of owned and licensed brands, which also includes Prada, Christian Louboutin and Comme des Garçons.
Read more from WWD: