DESIGNER RETURN: Prada said Monday that Simonetta Ciampi has been appointed as design director of bags and accessories. Ciampi returns to the Italian fashion house after her experience as design director of leather goods at Yves Saint Laurent, which she left in April. The Milan-born designer worked at Prada for 15 years. Ciampi created the horn-handled Mombasa bag, YSL’s first hit in the accessories business.

SAFILO EYES IPO: Eyewear giant Safilo is preparing to relist its shares on the Milan stock exchange, a Safilo spokesman confirmed, although he said that timing and other details have yet to be determined. Safilo made its debut on the Milan stock exchange in 1987, but the company was delisted in 2001, when president Vittorio Tabacchi led a leveraged buyout of the company. In May, Safilo chief executive officer Roberto Vedovotto said the company was mulling a return to the stock market. “We are thinking seriously about it,” said Vedovotto. “Bankers are telling us the market is extremely good and the situation looks good.” Safilo posted a net profit of 19.85 million euros, or $24.61 million at average exchange rates, on sales of 939.76 million euros, or $1.17 billion.

SAFEGUARD DELAY: The Bush administration delayed for a third time, until Nov. 30, decisions on four safeguard quota cases against China as U.S. and Chinese negotiators continue to try to reach a broad import restraint agreement. The pending petitions encompass $599.6 million in Chinese imports of sweaters, dressing gowns and robes, knit fabric and men’s and boys’ wool trousers. The U.S. has imposed safeguard quotas this year on $1.9 billion worth of Chinese imports, holding them to 7.5 percent annual growth, under the safeguard mechanism, which expires in 2008.

This story first appeared in the October 4, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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