Byline: Luisa Zargani

MILAN — Italian leather goods manufacturer Redwall said Monday that the Arpels family, of the prestigious jewelry house Van Cleef & Arpels, has purchased 50 percent of the company’s shares. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The announcement comes on the heels of industry speculations about Moschino retiring its accessories license from Redwall. Both Moschino and Redwall declined to comment on these rumors.
Redwall, known for its own accessories lines Redwall and Borbonese, is one of Italy’s most established leather-goods producers and over the years has manufactured accessories for such firms as Giorgio Armani and Romeo Gigli. The license for Gigli ended in 1997, and the license with Armani was terminated last year when the designer decided to focus on his accessories line and control production and distribution of that division.
Redwall currently produces the Richard Tyler and Moschino lines. Redwall started producing for Moschino when the designer’s accessories line was launched in 1983. In 1998, Moschino accounted for 40 percent of Redwall sales. Figures for 1999 were not available at press time.
“We are focusing on our own lines today,” said Fabio Cavana, vice president of Redwall. “I don’t believe in licenses anymore — a residue from the Eighties — but we are open to production contracts.”
Redwall also said it has officially changed its name to Rossi 1924 SpA.
“Redwall is also the name of our line, and this sometimes creates confusion and misunderstandings,” said Cavana.
The new name is taken from its origins: It was founded by Mario Rossi in 1924 outside Bologna.
“The purchase of the Redwall shares is for us an interesting opportunity to participate in the development of a company with a prestigious tradition in the luxury leather goods category,” said Claude Arpels, a member of Van Cleef’s board.
Last year, Compagnie Financiere Richemont AG, the Swiss tobacco and luxury goods group, acquired a 60 percent interest in Van Cleef & Arpels for about $328 million. The Arpels family retains a 20 percent ownership position, and Fingen SpA, a holding company owned by Marcello and Corrado Fratini of Gruppo Fratini — the Italian clothing and real estate firm — owns the rest.

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