MILAN — Italian manufacturer Aeffe SpA is embarking on a plan to pump up ski brand Authier with more fashion and wider distribution.

Aeffe bought a controlling stake in the company in January for an undisclosed sum and is producing and distributing the line starting with the fall season.

“The partnership with Aeffe offers a solid foundation for the development of this brand and gives the brand greater power to innovate, an international scope and the potential of a big group,” said Simone Badioli, chief executive officer of Aeffe, which also produces and distributes collections for Alberta Ferretti, Moschino, Narciso Rodriguez and Pollini.

Authier was founded in 1910 in Bière, Switzerland, and became one of the top producers of racing skis in the Fifties. The brand’s first ready-to-wear collection was launched in 1990. Aeffe is building on Authier’s iconic down jackets and tweed suits while maintaining the line’s feminine, fitted shapes.

The new leisure and après-ski looks stay clear of padded and cumbrous styles but remain suitable for the slopes: waterproof quilted jackets, an innovative cashmere polar fleece, superlight shearling vests lined with detachable lapin, sheepskin cropped jackets and merino knits. The color palette ranges from natural cream and brown to apple green, azure and red. Aeffe also reworked Fifties ad prints on the back of down jackets. The brand’s logo is the crossbow, which stands for Swiss quality.

Aeffe has expanded Authier’s accessories division, with oversize fur shoulder bags, footwear, gloves, scarves and hats. Retail prices range from $750 to $1,400 for a jacket and from $200 to $500 for leisure/ski pants. Knitwear prices range from $395 to $695.

Badioli said Aeffe plans to expand Authier’s distribution to about 200 stores this fall. In the U.S., Authier is available at stores such as Performance Ski in Aspen, Colo.; The Nines in East Hampton, N.Y., and Roslyn, N.Y., and Startingate in Bondville, Vt. In Canada, it’s available at Oh La La in Calgary.

This story first appeared in the March 28, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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