The fast-growing international group has announced the signing of an exclusive global license agreement for the design, production and distribution of a line of eyewear under the United Colors of Benetton brand. Mondottica is likely to sign another important, yet unnamed license soon, possibly before the start of the Silmo trade show in Paris next Friday.
The Benetton license was previously in the hands of AVM 1959, the former Allison, but the contract was terminated in 2015, when the company was restructured and renamed. The new deal with Mondottica will run at least through 2023. It will start with a collection of sunglasses for men and women that will be exclusively sold through Benetton's own global network of about 5,000 stores from the spring/summer 2018 season. The distribution of the sunglasses and the first prescription frames will be extended to Mondottica's global wholesale network from 2019.
Benetton is the 15th brand joining Mondottica's portfolio including Sandro and Maje, whose products have been nominated for the Silmo d'Or Awards, and Ducati and Le Coq Sportif, which will be launched in 2018. The first line of Sandro eyewear, which is described as being elegant, cool and rebellious, will be presented at the Silmo fair at the end of next week.
The 15 brands in Mondottica's portfolio don't include Spine, a house brand that has been spun off as a separate company, and Brando Eyewear, another creature of Michael Jardine, founder and chief executive of Mondottica, that specializes in high-end vintage-type collections like Philippe Chevallier, Alyson Magee, Serge Kirchhofer and Yohji Yamamoto.
Chevallier himself will preside over the relaunch of his eponymous eyewear line at next week's Silmo. Originally a designer of jewelry, he began to design eyewear in the late 1960s during the creative boom of the free love movement. He is credited with having introduced the concept of couture eyewear with fashion brands like Lanvin and Pierre Cardin. Chevallier then went on to launch his own brand of eyewear in 1968, focusing on women's acetate sunglasses. Some of these vintage frames are now selling for up to $50,000 at auction.
Brando recently hired Allan Rasmussen as design and product director. He had held a similar position at Pro Design of Denmark for nearly 20 years.
Jardine's newest company, Spine Optics, is now based in the Jura headquarters of Yves Cogan, a French brand of high-end eyewear that he bought a year ago. Spine is led by Dominique Bazin, the former international sales manager of Logo Eyewear. Another former manager of Logo, Sebastien Brusset, is the creative director, responsible for other house brands.