Creative boss O'Shea leaves Italy's Brioni after rapid gothic makeover

PARIS, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Brioni’s creative director Justin O’Shea, who undertook an unexpected gothic revamp at the Italian tailor, has left after just seven months, its parent Kering said on Tuesday.

O’Shea quit over the implementation of Brioni’s strategy, a source close to the company said, having transformed it from a classic Italian suit maker into a rock chic brand with a new logo which offers velvet outfits costing 3,000 euros backed by adverts featuring heavy metal band Metallica.

The move follows the summer resignation of Grita Loebsack, head of Kering’s emerging luxury brands such as Brioni and Balenciaga, over strategic differences. Loebsack, who joined from Unilever, stayed less than a year at the group.

Before joining Brioni in March, O’Shea had no formal design experience and was previously global buying director for online fashion retailer MyTheresa.

While O’Shea’s fall/winter collection would be presented to buyers in the Milan showroom from mid-November, it would not be staged on the runway, Kering said.

The group does not publish individual figures for its smaller fashion brands, but Brioni has suffered from a drop in tourist traffic in Europe and Russian demand due to the rouble’s devaluation. It has also had to cut jobs in the past year.

“The strategy of revitalisation of Brioni that started at the beginning of this year is set to continue being implemented through a long-term plan aimed to further establish the brand as a leader in the luxury menswear category,” Brioni said in a statement after thanking O’Shea for his work.

Brioni employs 1,200 people, versus 1,800 when it was bought by Kering in 2001. (Editing by Alexander Smith)