PARIS — Another vacancy in fashion’s latest round of musical chairs has been filled.
Designer Martine Sitbon has been named the new women’s creative director at Byblos, the Italian brand controlled by Genny Holding SpA.
Sitbon, who is based here and known for her graphic prints and a style that blends rock ‘n’ roll with romance, will show her first collection in Milan in September for spring 2002.
Sitbon, who succeeds John Bartlett, said she was approached by Byblos about two months ago and relished the opportunity to have another creative outlet. “I think Byblos has a nice history and it’s a fun line,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to it.”
Leonardo Girombelli, brand manager for Byblos, said Sitbon would oversee the current design team and chart an evolutionary, not revolutionary, new course for the brand.
“We are giving Byblos to Martine because she has a great experience and also because she is a very innovative designer,” he said. “We want to bring Byblos back to its roots. We want to get back to the DNA of the brand by giving it a fresh, young and joyful spin. It’s going to be about color and joi de vivre. Martine has a great reputation. She’s a great guarantee for us. She is not a designer who is just starting out.”
Designed for years by the team of Alan Cleaver and Keith Varty, Byblos was a hot brand in the early Nineties with global volume of about $150 million. Faced with dismal reviews and sliding sales, Genny ousted the duo in 1995 and replaced them by Richard Tyler, and three seasons later by Bartlett.
Girombelli said Sitbon’s appointment is part of a larger plan to rejuvenate the brand, which will also include improving logistics and production at Genny’s headquarters in Ancona in central Italy and “rethinking” distribution.
Also, Genny is expected to name a new designer for Byblos men’s wear, Sandy Dalal, a New York-based designer who shows his signature collection in Milan.