The L.A. designer will oversee the fashion house's women's line.

David Cardona is about to log some serious frequent-flier miles. The Los Angeles-based fashion designer has signed a deal to become the head women's wear designer at the Italian fashion house Cerruti. Cardona, 39, will continue to design his namesake collection, which was well-received at the recent fashion week here, splitting his time between L.A. and the Cerruti studios in Milan.

Cerruti is the latest in a spate of classic fashion labels to attempt a revival, following Halston, Ungaro and, of course, Burberry. Cerruti has long been famous for classically tailored men's suits, but the identity of its women's collection is less clear. "Cerruti wants to bring the women's line up to the level of the men's, and to unify the two so there's a consistent look," Cardona said Monday. "The Cerruti woman should be classic, sophisticated and strong, but there has to be some newness to it."

Before it was a fashion label, Cerruti was a textile business, established in 1881 by three brothers. In the 1950s, Nino Cerruti, eldest grandson of one of the brothers, took over the firm. He launched a men's line in 1967, followed nine years later by women's wear. In the last few years, the women's line has floundered under several different designers. Cardona's first runway show is planned for September in Milan. Cerruti representatives could not be reached for comment.

Cardona, whose flair for tailored leather pieces has made him a favorite with Janet Jackson, Natalie Cole, Carlos Santana and Luther Vandross, was once an assistant to designer Richard Tyler, the current godfather of L.A. fashion. He left Tyler in 1997 to go into business for himself. Cardona's clothes range in price from $300 for a blouse to $3,000 and up for leather pieces, and are sold at local stores such as Les Habitudes, Lulu Brandt and Savannah.

The designer is a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and Cal State Long Beach, where he studied design engineering. Before going into fashion, he worked for McDonnell Douglas Corp., designing military and commercial aircraft.

Cardona will have an opportunity to celebrate his newest venture at the reopening of the Rodeo Drive Cerruti boutique on May 13.

April 22, 2003 | Booth Moore | Times Staff Writer

Source: http://articles.latimes.com/2003/apr/22/entertainment/et-moore22