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PRADA GROUP TAPS ROSAS FOR BYBLOS

PARIS — Patrizio Bertelli has recruited Francisco Rosas as creative director for the Byblos brand, WWD has learned. His appointment calls into question the fate of designers Martine Sitbon and Sandy Dalal, who were recruited by the previous owner, Donatella Girombelli, to revitalize the struggling Byblos franchise

Since March 2000, Rosas was head of men’s design at Valentino. Before that, he worked in Paris as director of men’s production for Hermes. A spokeswoman for Prada, which acquired the Byblos brand along with Genny Group last July, had no comment. Rosas could not be reached for comment.

Byblos is slated to stage its fall 2002 men’s collection Wednesday in Milan. It is believed that Rosas is already at work on that show.

Reached in Italy on Monday, Dalal said he contributed to the fall 2002 men’s collection. “All the changes that will be made are for the best,” he said. “My own collection is my baby. It’s my future and that’s what I’m investing in. That said, Byblos has been a fantastic experience.”

Sitbon was named women’s creative director of Byblos last March and showed her first collection for the Italian label last October, garnering positive reviews. She could not immediately be reached for comment.

When Bertelli acquired Genny and Byblos, he defied speculation he might resell the brands and assured that he planned to “reinforce” their market presence.

Designed for years by the team of Alan Cleaver and Keith Varty, Byblos was a hot brand in the early Nineties with global volume of about $150 million. Faced with dismal reviews and sliding sales, Genny ousted the duo in 1995 and replaced them with Richard Tyler and, subsequently, John Bartlett. Sales at Genny Group were about $40 million in 2000.

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