MILAN — Ports 1961 has a new creative director in charge of women’s wear.
Natasa Cagalj will succeed Fiona Cibani in the role, with her first collection bowing in February for fall. Cibani had been in the position for four years.
A Central Saint Martins graduate, Cagalj has worked with Nino Cerruti and Peter Speliopoulos when he was appointed creative director of Cerruti Arte in Paris. She was then Alber Elbaz’s right-hand designer at Lanvin until she moved in 2005 to Stella McCartney, where she was head of design until 2012.
“Natasa is an incredibly talented individual and creative force. Her vision is perfectly in line with the Ports 1961 woman,” said Cibani. “I’m very excited to have Natasa on board and I strongly feel it’s time for a new chapter in the evolution of Ports 1961. This is a long-term decision.”
The brand has been expanding its business, introducing its first women’s handbags and accessories for fall 2014.
Cagalj and the Ports 1961 women’s wear design team will be based in a newly opened 5,400-square-foot design studio, in Clerkenwell in East London.
In July, Ports 1961 named Milan Vukmirovic creative director for men’s wear — a new position, as Cibani was previously in charge of both women’s and men’s wear, the latter developed with the help of Ian Hylton. The decision telegraphed the company’s strategy to further develop the brand’s men’s wear category.
Ports 1961 relocated to Milan from New York in 2011 and products are made in Italy. Its collections are sold in about 100 doors worldwide, including Neiman Marcus in Los Angeles, Bosco di Ciliegi in Moscow, Quartier 206 in Berlin and Harvey Nichols in Kuwait City, Kuwait.
There are monobrand boutiques in New York and Paris and the company will open units in Shanghai and Hong Kong in December.
Ports 1961 is controlled by Ports Design Ltd., based and publicly listed in Hong Kong — a holding company with yearly sales of about 225 million euros, or $303 million.
Ports 1961 represents about 5 percent of Ports Design’s total sales. Positioned in the luxury segment, Ports 1961 has seen revenues double since 2011.