The Brioni flagship on Madison Avenue.

MILANBrioni has appointed Nina-Maria Nitsche as its new creative director.

Nitsche joined Maison Martin Margiela in 1989, working closely with the founding designer for 23 years. After Margiela’s  resignation, in 2009, Nitsche took over the creative direction of the brand. She joined Vetements in September 2016 but left when the company relocated to Zurich from Paris earlier this year.

“Ever since I met her in 1996, I have been impressed by her creative approach, starting from a clearly defined concept and then transforming that into products that accurately resonate with the customer,” said Brioni’s chief executive officer Fabrizio Malverdi. “Her point of view will allow the brand’s core values to prosper and yet inject a contemporary dialogue that will enable Brioni to evolve into the future.”

Fabrizio Malverdi

Fabrizio Malverdi  Courtesy Photo

“Thanks to its long sartorial history, Brioni has the potential to redefine its position as a unique luxury brand,” said the designer. “The house’s philosophy is based on a pioneering approach to men’s wear. My aim is to reinforce and invigorate this longstanding tradition.”

François-Henri Pinault, chairman and ceo of parent Kering, added: “I am delighted to welcome Nina-Maria Nitsche to Brioni and within Kering. Nina-Maria has a very accurate understanding of the Brioni man and she will bring a comprehensive and articulate creative vision to the house. I am sure that, together with Fabrizio Malverdi, she will build on the house’s tradition of exceptional craftsmanship to propel Brioni into a new dynamic.”

Malverdi joined Brioni as its new chief executive officer in April, charged with accelerating the international expansion of the elite Italian tailor following a period of turmoil, and succeeding Gianluca Flore. He was most recently ceo of Agent Provocateur,  reporting to Jean-François Palus, managing director of Kering.  He is perhaps best known for his stints as managing director of Dior Homme and as ceo of Givenchy, where he accrued expertise in the high-end men’s wear market.

At Brioni, Malverdi is tasked with repositioning the brand and bringing stability. The company has been in a state of flux after going through two creative directors in less than a year, confounding some customers and retailers. Issues linked to positioning, pricing and communication also weighed on the brand, as did a rationalization of its workforce at its headquarters in Penne, Italy.

Flore, a former Bottega Veneta executive, joined Brioni in November 2014 and handpicked Brioni’s former creative director Justin O’Shea, a women’s retail executive who had no design experience. O’Shea abruptly departed the company last October after only six months. During his brief tenure, he steered Brioni away from its heritage and made changes that observers believed were not in sync with the brand, such as tapping Metallica for the label’s fall 2016 ads.

O’Shea succeeded Brendan Mullane, who had joined the Italian men’s wear brand in July 2012 and exited in February 2016. The arrival of Mullane marked the  first time Brioni had named a designer to oversee the men’s line.  A former  head men’s wear designer at Givenchy, Mullane was based in Rome and reported to then-ceo  Francesco Pesci. Mullane helped expand other categories for the Italian men’s wear brand, known for its high-end tailored suits, developing its outerwear and sportswear, footwear and accessories, and targeting a younger customer.

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