CLEMENTS RIBEIRO SAID UP FOR CACHAREL DESIGN

Byline: Katherine Weisman / with contributions from James Fallon, London

PARIS — The husband-and-wife fashion team that makes up Clements Ribeiro might be the next to design the Cacharel sportswear label.
Industry sources told WWD that London-based Suzanne Clements and Inacio Ribeiro are negotiating with the French company and an agreement is expected soon.
A spokeswoman for Cacharel confirmed that the company was looking at various international designers but said no hiring decisions have been made.
Clements and Ribeiro had no comment Thursday.
The two are known for their colorful knits and bohemian flair. Their label generated sales of about $6 million last year.
An agreement with Cacharel would not be the first time these designers have done outside fashion work: Ribeiro once consulted for Italy’s Iceberg collection.
Cacharel was founded in 1962 by Jean Bosquet, its current chairman. Corrine Sarrut was one of the first designers behind the label and has been the artistic director for Cacharel, overseeing the women’s, men’s and children’s collections for the last five years.
The Cacharel spokeswoman explained that the search for new designers is “part of a reorganization” but would not say if Sarrut is leaving. While working for Cacharel, Sarrut has continued to develop her signature sportswear collection. Over the decades, designers including Agnes b., Azzedine Alaia and Corrine Cobson have also worked on Cacharel’s ready-to-wear. Cacharel has also turned to a number of designers for its store interiors, including Jean Michel Wilmotte, Norman Foster and Andree Putman.
The past few years have been ones of restructuring for the fashion company. Measures have included the decision to close its last French production unit to cut manufacturing costs; further outsourcing production to Italy, Morocco, Mauritius and Hong Kong, and moving its headquarters to Paris for design, marketing, sales and communications. Cacharel’s original offices in Nimes, France, are still open and handle logistics and operations.
Consolidated sales for Cacharel last year dropped to $53.2 million from $64.3 million in 1998. (Dollar figures are converted from European currencies at current exchange rates.) This drop was due to a lowered price points and the decision to cut back distribution to make it more selective, according to a spokeswoman. The company earned $5 million last year, thanks in part to closing its last factory in Nimes. This compares with a consolidated loss of $13 million in 1998.