Julio Espada has been appointed artistic director of Emilio Pucci, the Florentine fashion house.The arrival of Julio Espada reflects the goal of the Pucci family and LVMH - which acquired 67 per cent of the company in February 2000 - to boost the development of the Pucci brand. Dynamic efforts will be focused on strengthening Pucci's identity, renewing it's image and profile in ready-to-wear, shoes and accessories.Pucci is also launching a network of international boutiques. In Milan, a Pucci shop opened during the recent fashion week with a new, more contemporary image. Boutique openings are also scheduled in St Moritz and Palm Beach next month.The Pucci label will soon be available on E-luxury, a website operating initially in the United States."Emilio Pucci has a very specific identity, relating to fashion and accessories as well as to graphic art. We believe that Julio Espada, being an experienced and eccentric fashion designer as well as a painter and sculptor, is the right person for us", said Catherine Vautrin, CEO of Emilio Pucci.Julio Espada said he was "very happy to be taking on artistic direction of Emilio Pucci, an icon Brand with considerable potential for development in areas as varied as ready-to-wear, shoes and accessories. Ushering Pucci into the twenty-first century and transforming nostalgia into innovation is a wonderful challenge."