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Celine Finds Its Man: LVMH Expected to Name Menichetti

It looks like LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton went fishing in Italy again for its latest high-profile designer.

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Roberto Menichetti

Photo By WWD Staff

One of his latest designs.

Photo By WWD Staff

PARIS — It looks like LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton went fishing in Italy again for its latest high-profile designer.

According to sources close to the deal, the French luxury group is finalizing a contract to name Roberto Menichetti as the new designer for Celine. He would succeed Michael Kors, who had a successful if bumpy six-year run at the house that ended in March when his contract expired.

It is understood Menichetti will present his first collection for Celine in October during Paris Fashion Week. An official announcement is expected shortly.

Neither Menichetti nor Celine officials could immediately be reached for comment on Friday. LVMH has shown a penchant for Italian designers lately, having appointed the Sardinian Antonio Marras as the new women’s designer of Kenzo last fall. The French luxury group, which has in the recent past preferred young talents with buzz, also seems to now gravitate to more seasoned and cultured talents.

Menichetti, 37, the son of Italian immigrants, was born in Buffalo, N.Y., and burst onto the fashion radar in 1998 when he was tapped by Burberry chief executive Rose Marie Bravo as creative director of Burberry. With the Burberry Prorsum line showcased on the runways of London and Milan, he helped elevate the firm’s iconic plaid and increase the brand’s fashion currency. Before that, Menichetti headed the design team at Jil Sander and was Claude Montana’s protégé in the Eighties.

Menichetti left Burberry after his three-year contract expired, and was succeeded there by Christopher Bailey.

Following a two-year hiatus, Menichetti returned to the fashion scene with a namesake collection that debuted in New York during Fashion Week last February. Richard Fischer, the chairman emeritus of Morgan Stanley and his wife, Jeanne Donovan, an independent theater producer in New York, financed his project.

Menichetti is expected to continue his own collection, with plans to stage a fashion show in New York this fall.

His fashion approach is of the less-is-more variety, with a collection stretching from luxurious basics to laser-cut dresses and outerwear in unusual fabrics. Menichetti’s collections at Burberry, as well as his own line, have drawn inspiration from activewear, with influences ranging from motorcycle apparel to swimwear, as well as such elements as heraldry. The designer lives and works in Gubbio, a medieval town nestled in the Umbrian hills where his family owns an apparel factory.
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