DESIGNER BOOM: Valentino is beefing up its staff with two new designers: one for his men’s wear collection and one for a new women’s collection set to bow for spring 2001. Francisco Rosas, former director of men’s wear production at Hermes, will replace Stephen Fairchild as designer of the men’s wear collection. As reported, Fairchild left Valentino at the end of January to become co-ceo and co-designer at Matt Nye Inc. Italian designer Maurizio Pecoraro, known for his couture-like detailing, will oversee a new “luxury diffusion” collection for Valentino to be produced by GFT. The company said it plans to give all the details about both collections at the end of this month.

HORN OF NOT-SO-PLENTY: For all the splash he made with his wholesale collection in New York, Miguel Adrover is now faced with a difficult retail problem. Notoriously destitute, and months late on his rent, the designer said on Wednesday that he had closed his five-year-old East Village store, Horn, this week. The gravel-floored shop carried labels like Alexander McQueen, Bruce and Dugg.
“It helped me a lot to get where I am right now, but I didn’t want to carry any more debt,” Adrover said. “It’s time to move on.”

MEMBER OF THE BOARD: The world is waiting to see what’s up with the designer, but Jil Sander’s business is wasting no time. Bernhard Wirmer has become chief financial officer of Jil Sander Concern Worldwide and a member of the board of Jil Sander AG, in charge of administration, finance and controlling. He is the fifth board member.

MASKA’S MAN: The Italian fashion house Maska has signed on Istvan Francer, former design director for Donna Karan’s Collection and signature women’s lines, to help reposition the brand and woo a broader and younger clientele.
Francer, 38, will relocate to Milan to be creative director and chief designer at the firm, which was acquired last October by Finpart, a Milan-based fashion holding company that also owns Frette, Henry Cotton’s and Moncler.
“Our new challenge is in the designer luxury sportswear market, and we feel that Maska has the right cards to grow in this area,” said Gianluigi Facchini, Finpart’s chief executive officer. Francer has a two-year contract; his first collection will be for spring 2001. Maska’s 1999 sales totaled $52.6 million, and the firm is projecting a 30 percent increase by 2001, in light of the fact that this has been a transitional year.

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