Byline: Anne D’Innocenzio

NEW YORK — Craig Natiello and Laura Montalban, the two key members of Bill Blass’s design team, started with new companies on Monday.
Natiello is now design and creative director of Halston. Montalban joined Oscar de la Renta as design assistant.
Natiello succeeds Kevan Hall, who had been in the post since July 1998. Hall, who left last Wednesday, is pursuing several opportunities, one of which is the possibility of launching his own collection.
Dominic Sabella will remain senior designer of the Halston Signature Collection.
Montalban, who reports to Oscar de La Renta, succeeds Patrick Sleem, who left the company, according to a spokesman.
A Blass spokeswoman said the company had not yet hired a new design team. In October, Blass reached a deal to sell his company and will no longer be designing the collection.
At Halston, Natiello is expected to broaden the Halston collection, which under Hall’s stewardship focused on eveningwear. Natiello reports to Nicholas DeMarco, president and chief executive officer.
“Kevan had a great evening style, but what Craig will do is broaden the spectrum,” said DeMarco. “We want a bigger breadth on the line. We want more influence on lifestyle.”
DeMarco said Natiello will oversee the design of Halston’s women’s collections and the soon-to-be-launched men’s line, as well as its licensed products.
Natiello, who has already begun working on the fall line, said the collection would have his stamp as well as the late designer’s imprint.
“It’s going to be me wearing a pair of Halston glasses,” Natiello said.”I want to put my stamp on Halston and move it forward.” He said he wanted to make it a full collection, with lots of different jackets, simple daywear, short cocktail dresses and evening separates.

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