Greek-born Kokosalaki exits Vionnet

The game musical chairs is no doubt a fashion industry favorite. In one of the industry’s most recent shuffles, Sophia Kokosalaki is no longer creative director at Madeleine Vionnet. The Athens-born and London-based designer has been replaced by French designer Marc Audibet at Vionnet but will continue designing and developing her own brand. Earlier this year, the Greek designer signed a deal with Renzo Rosso of Diesel jeans fame. Under the agreement, Italian manufacturer Staff International, which operates under the umbrella of Only the Brave, acquired a majority stake in Sophia Kokosalaki, the brand. Appointed at Vionnet last year, Kokosalaki designed two collections for the house – to good reviews: «Revived in a very rarefied, technically accomplished way by Sophia Kokosalaki,» noted’s Sarah Mower of the Vionnet legacy, on the fall/winter 2007 ready-to-wear collection shown to a small audience in Paris in March. Vionnet, the woman who invented the bias cut and offered women a sense of freedom through liberating fashion architecture, established her house in Paris in 1912. Signing her final collection in 1939, she died in 1975, and the label was acquired by the de Lummen family in 1988. For years, the house remained largely dormant with only scarf and perfume collections. Audibet, the house’s newly appointed artistic adviser, built a solid career at Hermes, Trussardi and Ferragamo, among others, and is credited with aiding powerhouse Prada in becoming a key luxury player in the 1990s. «We are delighted that Marc Audibet provides us, with all his sensibility to Vionnet, with an enlarged vision of strategy and creativity» said Vionnet CEO Arnaud de Lummen in a statement. «After collaborating for two seasons with us, Sophia Kokosalaki is dedicating herself to the development of her own label. We wish her the very best in this venture.» While Kokosalaki is maintaining a stance of «no comment,» Audibet is scheduled to unveil his debut Vionnet collection during the haute couture shows in Paris in July.

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