MILAN — Missoni has renewed its license with Marzotto for the M Missoni line, which the two companies have produced for the last 18 years.

The renewal extends the license for another six years.

More bridge than diffusion, M Missoni is produced and distributed by Marzotto, with Angela Missoni providing the creative voice. Infused with Missoni’s successful staples — color, prints, knitwear and jersey, M Missoni is successful in the U.S., a market that generates 35 percent of its sales of $24 million at current exchange rates.

In the next three years, M Missoni, which counts 600 doors worldwide, is expected to hit the $122 million mark at retail.

The line is carried in 79 U.S sales points, including Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom.

“We believe that the key to success in the U.S is our positioning in the department stores where M Missoni is sold with the bridge lines,” said Emilio Carbonera, division manager for M Missoni at Marzotto. “That means more consumer traffic and price tags that are lower compared to designers’ secondary lines.”

Added Michele Norsa, chief executive officer at Valentino and general manager of Marzotto apparel, “The needs of our U.S. clients — updated flashes, punctual deliveries and price-quality ratios — set the premise for the line’s international success.”

Retail prices range from $146 for a pair of pants to $475 for a suit. The 200-piece collection is almost equally divided between wovens and knitwear. While most of the production is in Italy, the pieces that require pricey craftsmanship are outsourced to China and India.

As for new looks for spring-summer 2005, they include nipped blazers with gold buttons, floral printed silk blouses and off-the-shoulder dresses, shrunken cardigans over shorts and diagonally zigzagged halter dresses.

— Alessandra Ilari

This story first appeared in the September 3, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.