MILAN — In one of the shortest designer tenures in memory, Lars Nilsson is out at Gianfranco Ferré.

The fashion house on Friday said it has ended its relationship with the Swedish designer. The company did not explain why.

The Ferré show will be held as scheduled on Feb. 18. The statement said the fall collection is the fruit of the “excellent design team and is a tribute to the creativity of the late Gianfranco Ferré,” on which the brand wants to base its future strategies. Nilsson was hired in September following Ferré’s death in June.

The new creative direction will be revealed after the show, said the statement.

Ferré is owned by the publicly listed IT Holding SpA, whose shares dropped 0.49 percent on Friday to 0.65 euros, or 95 cents at current exchange.

According to a source, the friction with Nilsson started over the organization of the pre-fall campaign, which the designer called “transitional.” Though the clothes were designed by Ferré’s former assistant, Liborio Capizzi, the mood was Nilsson’s. David Sims shot the black-and-white image, featuring model Freja Beha Erichsen in New York’s Milk Studios.

“Nilsson felt he wasn’t getting the support he needed and had a lot on his plate,” said the source.

The source noted that IT Holding could at times be a disorganized structure that can penalize a designer like Nilsson, who is known for his precision. That said, Nilsson has a reputation for being somewhat difficult.

According to another source close to the house of Ferré, ITC, the high-end manufacturing arm of IT Holding, had gone to great lengths to satisfy Nilsson’s whims.

During his short tenure, Nilsson had tapped art director Fabien Baron as a consultant to redefine the brand’s identity from an image standpoint, including the ad campaigns, and to advise on redefining the logo and labels.

He also turned to Karl Templer, who was supposed to style the women’s fall collection this month.

The departure from Ferré is the third time Nilsson has left a major fashion house. Trained at the Chambre Syndicale fashion school in Paris, Nilsson worked behind the scenes at Christian Lacroix, Christian Dior and Polo Ralph Lauren before taking on the creative director role at Bill Blass for two years.

This story first appeared in the February 11, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

After he was let go from Blass, he was at Nina Ricci between 2003 and 2006, eventually being replaced by Olivier Theyskens.

At the time of his appointment at Ferré, Tonino Perna, chairman of Ferré and IT Holding, said in a statement that Nilsson’s “sartorial approach” to fashion design would help him follow the “path of creative research which has always distinguished the work of Gianfranco Ferré.”

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