MILAN, Italy — Paula Cademartori, whose namesake accessories label is known for its colourful assortment of shoes and bags, is parting ways with OTB, the Italian fashion group overseen by Diesel founder Renzo Rosso.
The decision was taken by mutual agreement, according to an OTB statement. Paula Cademartori will retain full rights to her brand’s trademark.
The collaboration was important “for my professional growth, from which I learned a lot,” Cademartori said in a statement, adding, “the time has now come for my brand to explore new independent horizons.”
Paula Cademartori first gained traction when her colourful accessories became a street style fixture, often seen on the likes of Anna Della Russo, as well as celebrities including Beyoncé and Lady Gaga. Bags often cost upward of $1,000.
Cademartori hopes to take some time to recalibrate her business, before launching a new collection sometime next year. She plans to keep her production in Italy, and will focus on growing the brands’ distribution, as well as expanding beyond accessories into the homeware category.
“I’m actually trying to give to the brand a vision that is more ‘The Universe of Paula,’” she told BoF. “I had my first experience doing the brand by myself. My second experience was with a partner. Now it’s time to get back the focus on … what I really think, what is important for the brand.”
OTB president Renzo Rosso wished the designer well in her new chapter. “Paula Cademartori is a very talented designer. Her determination will allow her to reach new business goals, and I wish her all the success she deserves," he said in a statement.
OTB’s flagship brand Diesel has recently seen weak performance in Europe and the US, where it filed for Chapter 11 protection in March. Consolidated revenues for OTB were down 3.2 percent in 2018 to €1.4 billion ($1.55 billion).
But Maison Margiela, while not yet profitable, generated €200 million in 2018, up 25 percent from the previous year. OTB declined to share revenue figures for Marni, but noted that the brand has enjoyed double digit growth this year.
Its ongoing Diesel Red Tag project, a series of rotating collaborations with buzzy designers, was introduced to inject some “fresh energy” into the denim brand, whose jeans dominated pop culture in the 1990s and early 2000s. Past collaborations include tie-ups with Hood by Air’s Shayne Oliver and Y/Project’s Glenn Martens.
“These collaborations are not for making money. They’re for making the brand cool,” Rosso told BoF in June.
Earlier this year, the group announced plans to invest over €200 million into its existing portfolio over the next three years to help kickstart faster growth. Since then it has increased its stake in Victor & Rolf to 70 percent, and acquired a minority stake in LA-based label Amiri.
Stay tuned to BoF for updates on this developing story.