Italy's Tod's hires former Gucci designer Facchinetti

MILAN Wed Feb 20, 2013 1:14pm EST

MILAN Feb 20 (Reuters) - Italian luxury goods company Tod's has hired former Gucci and Valentino designer Alessandra Facchinetti as creative director in a move aimed at boosting the brand's appeal.

In a statement on Wednesday, the group known for its pebbled leather shoes said Facchinetti will oversee the company's womenswear line. Her first collection will be presented during the Milan fashion week in September.

"Alessandra Facchinetti is a very talented woman," Tod's Chairman and Chief Executive Diego Della Valle said.

Tod's, one of the best-known luxury brands in Italy, has been expanding its international footprint after suffering from lower sales in its home market during the recession.

"Her passion for detail and her dedication to the research of materials and manufacturing make her perfect for our brand, which has always been very attentive to quality and Made in Italy," Della Valle said.

Facchinetti, who debuted as designer of Prada's edgy brand MiuMiu in 1994, made her name as creative head at Gucci, Moncler and Valentino.

She abruptly left Gucci in 2005 and Valentino in 2008.

"As an Italian designer, I feel very honoured to take up such an important role," she said.

Fashion bloggers hailed the move on Twitter.

"She's back!," Melania Chavarria (@melaniadg) said. "Big plans to further expand luxury brand," Natasha Cowan (@natasha_fashion) said.

Tod's reported 2012 sales of 963 million euros ($1.29 billion) in 2012, up 7.8 percent, helped by a good performance in China.

Known for its leather shoes and bags, apparel only accounts for around 9 percent of the group's sales.

Sales of apparel fell 15 percent in 2012.

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