PARIS — Confirming a key tack in its relaunch plan, Louis Feraud has appointed Jean-Paul Knott creative director for the Feraud luxury ready-to-wear collection, to be presented in October during fashion week here.

This story first appeared in the June 21, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

WWD first reported Feraud was in pursuit of Knott on May 28.

The 35-year-old Belgian, who studied at Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and famously worked beside Yves Saint Laurent for 11 years, succeeds Yvan Mispelaere, who exited Feraud last March in the wake of big changes at the 52-year-old house. Last July, Escada AG took a 45 percent stake in the firm, leaving the Dutch group Secon with 45 percent and executive Michael Rover with 10 percent.

Knott, who launched his signature collection in 2000 and consulted for two seasons at Krizia in Milan, should bring new attention to the French house. On Thursday, he told WWD he plans to build on the “extraordinary” recent work of Mispelaere and the rich design heritage of the late Feraud himself.

“I don’t want to make a complete break with what has been done. Feraud seems to always have been inspired by the will to enjoy life, and that’s what I’m going to do with the collection,” Knott said. “I want to do something luxurious for today.”

Knott added he plans to continue producing his signature collection as well. At present, it is sold in about 40 stores worldwide and generates annual wholesale volume approaching $2 million. Current clients include Maria Luisa here, Bagutta in New York, Isetan in Tokyo and Corso Como 10 in Milan.

Feraud’s managing director, Francois-Xavier de Monts, said the Knott-designed luxury collection, still unnamed, will be priced about 50 percent higher than the main Feraud collection, where suits wholesale from about $450. But he said it would be targeted at the same distribution, including nine company-owned Feraud stores, certain of its 11 franchised units and department and specialty stores.

De Monts reiterated Thursday that Feraud, which ceased its couture activities last January, aims to resume as soon as July 2003. However, he declined to discuss who would design the collection or other details, saying Feraud first plans to develop the luxury ready-to-wear and core collection and accessories.

As reported, Feraud’s volume was about $28.5 million last year, and de Monts forecast growth of 15 percent this year, based on the new styling direction.

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