Byblos is kicking off the year with a fresh image for its young denim and sportswear line, Blu Byblos, a new designer and a fresh concept store to push its expansion around the world. For the first time, the line will also show at the Bread & Butter exhibition in Barcelona this month.

Manuel Facchini, creative director of the Byblos signature line, is now also in charge of Blu Byblos, starting with the winter 2007 collection. Facchini is one of the owners of Swinger International, the Italian manufacturing company that controls Byblos, and is the brother of Mathias, chief executive officer of the company. Facchini started working on the main Byblos line for fall 2005 together with designers Greg Myler, Stefano Citron and Federico Piaggi and went solo last fall.

For Blu Byblos, Facchini’s first objective was to clearly identify the line and its focus.

“The brand is now more dynamic, stronger and aggressive,” Facchini said in an interview in Milan.

Facchini, who is based at Swinger’s Verona, Italy, headquarters, said he wanted Blu Byblos to be “more in line with the signature label” and more feminine. He narrowed the target customer to an age range of 18 to 30.

“The line used to cater to both young girls and more mature women,” he said.

Facchini’s passion for the arts is reflected in the collection, which is inspired by architecture and the work of young international contemporary artists. For fall, Facchini has revisited psychedelic and camouflage prints and focused on the contrast of different materials, such as traditional Prince of Wales fabrics with feather-light chiffon. He also highlighted inserts and details such as sturdy seams.

“We bought new machines to obtain large and long stitches that look hand-sewn,” he said.

The company plans to open franchised stores in Egypt, Dubai, Japan and China.

“The stores are a study in contrasts between soft, sinuous and rounded shapes and hard, chromed metal fixtures,” Facchini said. “There will be asymmetrical modules that run along the walls.”

The color palette will revolve around eggplant and chocolate brown.

Blu Byblos is carried at about 600 points of sale around the world. In the U.S., the line is available at stores such as Gaia and Max Pinko in Los Angeles, Philippe Deray in Malibu, Calif., and Follies You in Miami.

This story first appeared in the January 11, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The company last year reported sales of 20 million euros, or $26.1 million at the current exchange rate, for Blu Byblos. Through this new strategy, the company is aiming to triple that figure in the next three years.

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