GIRBAUD’S WOES: Marithé + François Girbaud has filed for the French equivalent of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, a spokeswoman for the French denim brand said.

Representatives of the label, which last year mandated Banque Privée Edmond de Rothschild to open its capital to outside investors, attended a hearing at a commercial court on Thursday aimed at extending the observation period allowing potential buyers to step in. The spokeswoman declined to give further details, but said the company planned to issue a statement in the next few days.

Marithé + François Girbaud has been losing steam since the global economic downturn, posting consolidated sales of 100 million euros, or $132.7 million at average exchange, in 2010. The duo opened its first store in Paris in 1972 and the brand had its heyday in the Eighties, when it became known as a pioneer in denim washes, in particular stone washing.

Indian weaver Fibres & Fabrics International (FFI) is among the rumored potential buyers. FFI owner Anupam Kothari could not be reached for comment.


Notwithstanding the company’s financial difficulties, its founders plan to celebrate 40 years of working together with a book in French and English next fall, and an exhibition titled “L’Autre Jean,” due to open Oct. 26 at the Museum of Art and Industry in Saint-Etienne, France.


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