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2009 April 2

Coming Very Soon: Nina Ricci's New Designer!

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(NEW YORK) Olivier Theyskens' final runway show as creative director of Nina Ricci was one of the most statement-making fashion events in recent memory. Presented last month in Paris, the collection was dominated by exquisitely rendered, painstakingly constructed pieces that were estimated to have cost upwards of $1 million euros to produce and present. And while rumors floated through fashion circles that Nina Ricci parent company Puig Fashion Group was contemplating a hiatus for its ready-to-wear division, it appears that the brand is moving full steam ahead.

"We have no plans on a hiatus at Ricci," Puig Fashion Group president Mario Grauso said today via email. "We will announce a new designer within the next few weeks."

Although Theyskens' contract with the house expires in October, his last official day on the job was March 10, leaving the house without a creative director. Several staffers, including PR director Kate Etter, left the brand alongside Theyskens. In December, The Daily exclusively reported that Theyskens would leave the house; Puig Fashion Group president Mario Grauso confirmed the news in February. The statement indicated that the brand "wishes to re-orientate its development strategy for the years to come." 

Puig purchased the house of Nina Ricci from the French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi SA in December 1997. While the ready-to-wear division had floundered in the decades after Ricci's death in 1970, Puig relaunched the business in 2003 with Lars Nilsson as creative director. He left the company in October 2006 and was replaced by Theyskens, who had recently found himself unemployed when parent company Procter & Gamble shuttered the Rochas ready-to-wear division, where he was creative director.

Several media outlets have fingered Peter Copping as Grauso's pick for the next Nina Ricci designer; the women's studio director at Louis Vuitton first met with Puig brass in January. One well-placed industry insider is "99% sure" that Copping is the anointed one. Will he sit next to Grauso at Puig's table at the Costume Institute Gala? "I have not yet invited people for the Met," said Grauso. No doubt he's already saving the date...
ASHLEY BAKER




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