PARIS — LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton said Monday that Roberto Menichetti would succeed Michael Kors as artistic director at the house of Celine.
This confirms a WWD front-page report Monday.
The 37-year-old Italian, who was creative director at Burberry for three years during its relaunch, begins at the Paris-based house this week. He presented his own line in February, which he will continue with a presentation this fall in New York. He also has designed at Jil Sander, where he was influential in establishing the men’s collection, and Claude Montana.
Celine said his runway debut for the house is slated for October in Paris.
“Roberto has wide knowledge of and experience in luxury and fashion,” said Jean Marc Loubier, president and chief executive officer of Celine. “He has imagination and he knows how to turn that inventiveness into a [sellable] product.”
For his part, Menichetti sees Celine as a brand “for a Parisian woman with lots of allure, feminine yet modern at the same time.”
He plans to spend more time in New York, and shuttle back and forth between?Gubbio, Paris and Milan.
Known for his motocross styles and love of leather at Burberry, Menichetti’s nascent namesake line concentrated on detailed, luxurious clothes, such as hand-knit cashmere sweaters and sharp leather miniskirts. Born in Buffalo, N.Y., Menichetti’s fashion link also encompasses his family’s privately owned apparel factory in Gubbio, Italy, where he lives.
Loubier said Menichetti’s arrival at the house signaled an “evolution” in the brand’s established image, geared to “a Parisian state of mind. Our customer is refined and energetic,” he said. “She’s a Parisian in spirit, but that doesn’t mean she lives in Paris. She’s also from London, New York and Tokyo.”
He added that one shouldn’t expect to “see what [Menichetti] has done in the past, or what Celine has done in the past. It’s a move forward, in keeping with the house’s well-defined customer. We want to go a step further. Roberto will bring great creativity.”
Menichetti arrives at Celine at a time of robust growth. Sales increased double digits last year and sales in the first quarter of 2004 were up 30 percent. Market sources estimate Celine’s sales at about $200 million a year.
Kors’ easy, jet-setting style was seen as a good match for Celine. But Kors left after his swan song in March to concentrate on his own New York-based house.
During his tenure, the brand gained retail accounts and Loubier worked hard to move the house into the black, slashing lead times and improving its retail network. Celine operates 100 boutiques worldwide. Ready-to-wear accounts for about 42 percent of sales, with accessories and licenses making up the rest.
“We are in a development time now,” said Loubier on Monday. “We’ve accomplished the turnaround period and are moving forward fast.”