PARIS — The guessing game is over. After one year without a creative director, Paule Ka said Thursday that it has named Alithia Spuri-Zampetti to the position.
The 31-year-old is the first to be appointed to its design helm since the departure in July 2014 of Serge Cajfinger, who founded the contemporary French fashion brand in 1987 and served as its creative director and chairman from then on.
For the past six years, Spuri-Zampetti has been the head designer in charge of women’s ready-to-wear collections at Lanvin.
Paule Ka attributed Spuri-Zampetti’s prior experiences at Valentino and Bottega Veneta as contributors to her “asserted stylistic signature and the creation of a rich fashion repertoire founded on ultra-feminine figures – this, as well as a genuine passion for sophisticated fabrics, the sign of understated and discreet luxury.”
The Italian-American designer grew up in Rome and the U.S. She is a graduate of Central Saint Martins in London.
“In keeping with Paule Ka’s chic heritage and with the support of its atelier, I am keen to create a contemporary wardrobe, combining the essentials of daily wear with more elaborate pieces for special occasions. And all within a price range that offers accessible luxury typical [of the brand],” she stated.
Paule Ka, with a bow as its leitmotif, often incorporates retro elements and gleans inspiration from Cajfinger’s own predilection for design from the Fifties and Sixties.
The brand has been undergoing a shake-up in the months after he left.
The firm, now owned by Change Capital Partners, in January appointed Catherine Vautrin as the label’s chairman and chief executive officer. She suceeded Antoine Bing, Paule Ka’s chief executive director since 2002, who had served as interim chairman. Vautrin came from Cerruti, where she was chairman and ceo.
At the time of her nomination, the executive told WWD that Change Capital had asked her to “capitalize on this very specific identity the founder built year after year, give it a contemporary interpretation and boost international development.” She said expansion would focus on the United States, Middle East and Asia.
Vautrin stated Thursday that Spuri-Zampetti’s mission “is part of an ambitious international project aimed at both expanding Paule Ka’s clientele as well as affirming a unique style, by going beyond the perfect stylish little dress, to offer a comprehensive urban wardrobe and a collection of accessories.”
The brand is already popular with celebrities including Meryl Streep, Lea Michele and Anne Hathaway.
Paule Ka is present in 56 countries via 350 points of sale, including 60 monobrand doors. Its sales are nearing 50 million euros, or $56.2 million at current exchange.