PRADA, GTR GROUP TERMINATE CONTRACT
MILAN — With finger-pointing occurring on both sides, the production contract between Prada Group and Gruppo Tessile Riunito, the Italian manufacturer that produces Helmut Lang’s jeanswear, has been broken.
In a statement issued late Wednesday, Prada, which controls Helmut Lang, accused GTR of breach of contract.
“The GTR Group no longer has any relationship with Helmut Lang and can no longer produce apparel or accessories under that name,” the Prada statement said. “The termination of the contract was due to [GTR’s] total incapacity and negligence in managing the Helmut Lang brand+and that has reflected negatively on the company.”
Prada added that GTR, which produces Lang’s denim, khaki, surplus, underwear and sports bag collections, was late with its samples and deliveries. A Prada Group spokeswoman would not provide any further details, but said “Prada Group will guarantee regular deliveries of the jeanswear line to all Helmut Lang stores and clients.”
In October, 1999 Prada Group managing director Patrizio Bertelli announced he had taken an option to buy 20 percent of GTR. The Prada Group spokeswoman said that option was never exercised.
GTR’s version of the termination differed markedly from Prada’s.
It issued its own statement Wednesday saying it wanted to dissolve a contract signed in October, 1999 with Prada Group because Prada did not satisfy the terms of the contract. GTR said that, as a result of the breach of contract, it was forced to lay off workers. The manufacturer is asking for $60 million in damages.
The GTR statement added, however, that it wanted to hold on to five other contracts — signed with Lang before his company was purchased by Prada Group in March 1999 — for the production of the designer’s jeanswear lines.
According to industry sources, the Helmut Lang lines generate $30 million in annual turnover, or 75 percent of GTR’s sales. A GTR spokesman could not be reached for comment.