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PARIS — Georgina Brandolini is a sweater girl through and through. Always has been, always will be.

This story first appeared in the March 3, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

To wit: When the social powerhouse decided to strike out on her own with a signature label after 20 years as Valentino’s Paris representative and six as managing director at Balmain, there was no question her focus would be knits. Brandolini plans to give retailers a preview of about a dozen styles during Paris Fashion Week and return with a complete collection in time for the July couture.

The focus is on sweaters for evening, but without baubles or fancy embroidery — just “chic and sexy” shapes in a variety of yarns, including cotton and silk blends and viscose and silk blends.

“It’s about the cut and the detail. It’s what we’re missing from the market,” Brandolini said in an interview. “I’ve always worn sweaters, even for evening. People nowadays dress up less and they travel more, so they put a sweater in a suitcase and a pair of black pants.”

While she has no formal design training, Brandolini has worked at the elbow of two top couturiers — Valentino and Oscar de la Renta — and learned about their refined approach to dressing. “I know exactly what I want,” said Brandolini, who works with an illustrator and designer in Modena, Italy, to help her realize her designs. The line will target specialty stores in Europe, the U.S. and Japan.

Brandolini, who has an illustrious pedigree and is also the niece of the late Gianni Agnelli, said her new venture is self-financed. And although pricing has yet to be finalized, she’s adamant that her items be affordable, priced around the level of diffusion lines, not designer brands.

“Sweaters are something people buy a lot,” she explained. “I want it to be a low price so people can buy more and buy regularly.”

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