“I immediately fell in love with the project,” said Kibardin, who, as creative director, will oversee the design and development of both the men’s and women’s footwear and accessories collections. The designer is also in charge of revamping the image of Bruno Magli, which was founded in Bologna, Italy, in 1936.
“We strongly believe in the potential of [the company], and we are extremely committed to ensuring its development,” said the company’s CEO, Armin Mueller.
“As we constantly said in recent months, it all starts with innovative design, and this is why I’m very happy to welcome Max. He is young and talented, and he brings a fresh approach to the house. I’m sure he will be able to reinterpret the Bruno Magli heritage with a new, chic, sophisticated approach,” Mueller added.
A model-turned-shoe designer, Kibardin, who launched his namesake collection in 2004, won Footwear News’ Vivian Infantino Emerging Talent award in 2007. He later served as a consultant at Furla from 2007 to 2011, and was creative director for Lorenzo Banfi from 2008 to 2010.
“My goal is to [raise the profile] of the brand, preserving its [history] and reinterpreting its style in a modern [way],” said Kibardin, who will unveil his debut collection in mid-January with a presentation in the new Bruno Magli showroom in Milan.
Kibardin said he tapped into the company archive to craft the footwear, accessories and outerwear offerings. “My aim is to create not just a collection but a real lifestyle concept,” he said, adding that movie icons such as Ali McGraw, Tippi Hedren, Cary Grant and Steve McQueen provided inspiration.
The women’s collection features 1970s-inspired pumps in a sophisticated color palette, while the men’s line focuses on classic loafers, as well as more casual looks.
Bruno Magli, which is stocked in 200 doors worldwide, is looking to dramatically increase its wholesale presence. According to Mueller, the goal is to be in 500 doors in four to six years.
The company also aims to expand its business in the U.S., which accounts for 30 percent of revenues, by opening a number of shop-in-shops and a boutique in New York. Plans for Europe include new stores in London and Paris.
Bruno Magli already runs 10 directly-operated boutiques across Europe and the Middle East, along with 25 shop-in-shops in Japan.