MILAN — The talent pool in fashion is apparently so limited these days that when an executive the likes of Giorgio Armani’s Pino Brusone says he’s moving on, the rumor mill is ready to assign him any number of top jobs.
One minute, the Italian press has him teaming up with Gabriella Forte to buy Calvin Klein, or he’s off to join Bernard Arnault in a senior capacity at LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton. Next, he’s joining Donna Karan — never mind that ceo John Idol’s contract runs through 2002. Although Brusone declined to comment on the rumors, industry sources insist that all the Italian manager wants is to lighten his workload.
“The rumors are pure fantasy,” said one informed source. “He wants to downshift, and he’ll most likely become a consultant for one company, or a group of companies.”
As reported, Brusone decided to leave his position as managing director at Armani after repeatedly locking horns with the designer over future strategies for the house. Brusone was said to be interested in selling to LVMH or Gucci while Armani appears unwilling to sell all or part of his company right now.
Sources said Brusone was drained after 14 years on the job. “He wants a job with less pressure — he wants to start enjoying his life a little bit more,” said a source close to Brusone. “He’s tired, and he feels as if he’s completed a career cycle: He wants to move on.”
Regarding Donna Karan, or any other American business for that matter, the source said Brusone would be reluctant to move to the U.S. for personal and family reasons.
As for Forte — a former top executive at Armani — the source added that she and Brusone aren’t exactly the best of friends. Forte could not be reached for comment.
Despite reports in these columns that Brusone may have been getting cozy with LVMH, he’s not going to work for the French group either. LVMH executives told WWD earlier this week they were surprised and puzzled by Brusone’s resignation, and that the Italian manager was not expected to join LVMH.