French luxury goods group Kering said on Thursday it had picked Nina-Maria Nitsche as the creative director of its upmarket Italian menswear brand Brioni. Nitsche succeeds Justin O'Shea, who left Brioni in October 2016 after a six-month stint.
Ms. Nitsche will oversee all of the brand’s collections and the image of Brioni, which was founded by tailor Nazareno Fonticoli and entrepreneur Gaetano Savini in Rome in 1945, and whose suits once clothed movie character James Bond and have been favored by former U.S. President Barack Obama and his successor Donald Trump.
Prior to Brioni, Nitsche had been at Maison Margiela, which she joined 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.
"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 chief executive Fabrizio Malverdi. Malverdi, formerly CEO of lingerie label Agent Provocateur, joined Brioni in March 2017, replacing Gianluca Flore, who left the group in February.
Kering bought Brioni in 2011. The group does not publish individual figures for its smaller fashion brands, but Brioni has suffered from a drop in tourist numbers in Europe. It has also been impacted by lower Russian demand due to the rouble's devaluation.
(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)