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Sykes Jettisoned by Aquascutum; Maurer In at Rabanne

By Godfrey Deeny

Fashion Wire Daily - Paris - The revolving door continues in fashion.

In London, Aquascutum has fired its designer Joanna Sykes; in Paris, Paco Rabanne has named Lydia Maurer to be its new creative director.

Rabanne acted one month after it separated by mutual agreement from Indian designer Manish Aurora, after he had helmed the Paris house for two seasons, and generally received positive reviews for his arty version of Rabanne's signature metallic fantasies. Maurer, 29, had been working in the Rabanne studio since last November as design director, so her appointment is not a complete surprise.

Maurer, who was born in Germany and is of Colombian and German ancestry, will present her first collection for Rabanne during Paris Fashion Week in October. She will also oversee the house's accessories business.

"We are very happy to welcome Lydia Maurer. Her determination and her unique sensitivity in terms of the artistic and experimental universe of Paco Rabanne are going to enable us to pursue the renewal of our house in the long term," read a statement released Tuesday, June 5, by the house, which is part of the Barcelona-based Puig group's luxury division that also includes Nina Ricci and Carolina Herrera.

"Monsieur Rabanne invented a timeless, unique and sensual style inspired by art and architecture. This is the ongoing creative spirit that I wish to convey in my work for the house," said Maurer, a graduate of the acclaimed Studio Berçot in Paris, who has previously done stints in the design studios of Yves Saint Laurent, Martine Sitbon and Givenchy.

At Aquascutum, the troubled house revealed on Tuesday that its current designer Sykes would leave by the end of the month, though it did not announce any replacement.

The news comes four weeks after the appointment of a new CEO, Tim Dally, at Aquascutum, which is controlled by Renown Inc. of Japan. Though last month, Hong Kong-based apparel firm YGM Trading Ltd. announced it had signed a letter of intent to buy the British clothing brand, which it already makes and distributes in Greater China, Singapore and Malaysia.

Central Saint Martins graduate Sykes joined the house in May 2010, garnering mixed reviews for her clean yet edgy take on Aquascutum, a brand with a lengthy heritage seeing as it was founded in 1851.

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