MILAN — Dirk Bikkembergs has tapped Lee Wood as its new creative director.  The designer’s first collection will bow for fall 2017.

This step is part of the company’s reorganization, almost one year after Canudilo’s acquisition of a 51 percent stake in the fashion firm. “Lee arrives at a time of great renovation. We will work together to create a new, important chapter for this great brand,” said Dario Predonzan, newly tapped chief operating officer.

Wood will be in charge of the men’s and women’s collections under the signature brand and the younger Bikkembergs label, as well as the licenses for kids’, underwear, bags and accessories. The collections had been designed by an in-house team for the past two years, which will still produce the men’s line to be shown on June 20 in Milan. Bikkembergs left his namesake company five years ago, and Hamish Morrow was called to succeed him for a few seasons.

After graduating from the Berkshire College of Art & Design, Wood, who hails from England, moved to Milan in 1998 and worked with Donatella Versace for 16 years. In 2013, he started consulting for several fashion brands. In 2015, Wood launched his own ready-to-wear line called L72. That year, he won the “Who Is on Next?” women’s wear talent search.

An upbeat Wood emphasized his “involvement and passion” in taking up “the heritage of a prestigious brand.”

Last year, Chinese retail group Canudilo acquired a 51 percent stake in Dirk Bikkembergs for 40.68 million euros, or $45.15 million at average exchange rate.

The label, which closed 2014 with revenues of 100 million euros, or $122 million at average exchange rate, was previously controlled by Italian companies Zeis Excelsa and SNV, which both maintain 24.5 percent stakes in the company.

Zeis Excelsa and SNV continue to produce the brand’s footwear and ready-to-wear collections, respectively.

At the time of the acquisition, Canudilo said it was planning to invest 60 million euros, or $66.6 million, to boost the international expansion of Bikkembergs.

Canudilo group in China operates 300 Canudilo monobrand stores, as well as 100 franchised boutiques of international luxury labels, including Bally, Salvatore Ferragamo, Emporio Armani, Rimowa, Montblanc, Tumi, Max Mara and Givenchy, among others. There are 61 Bikkembergs monobrand stores, with five more planned to open soon.

 

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