Signed a couple of days ago, the worldwide licensing contract for eyewear frames signed by Marithé and François Girbaud should help the French firm to find a good distributor in the USA, where the French couple of avantgarde designers is beginning to become famous again like in the 1980s, when they were designing new-style jeans for Warnaco.

The first line of prescription eyewear under the Girbaud label will be launched by Grosfilley at next May's Mido show in Milan for sale in the Fall of 2001, followed by a line of sunwear for the following Spring. Alain Mikli had been designing eyewear for the Girbauds many years ago, but in a friendly manner and with limited distribution.

Born out of the merger between Dorian and the former Grosfilley manufacturing firm, which has now been digested without any major problems, the new Grosfilley is aiming for a 20 percent sales increase this year to 60 million French francs (e9m-$7.5m), of which 70 percent are exports. It has set up networks of commission agents in Germany and Spain. Japan is a major market.

Grosfilley holds worldwide licenses for other more classical brands such as Azzaro and Jacques Dessange, the French hairdresser. It also has licensing deals for Revillon, Philippe Chariol and Francesco Smalto that cover the whole world except Japan. The company is designing a special frame for the King of Morocco, who is a big client of Smalto, the Italian Paris-based men's couturier.