Change in Designers
It makes us wonder why brands tend to change creative directors so often. At the core is the desire to find new inputs, to constantly renew the brand’s aesthetics without betraying its heritage. To keep up with the times or, better yet, anticipate them. However, if things don’t work out, it’s not just a matter of talent or chemistry between directors and the heads of the fashion houses. It’s worth adding that the end consumer is perpetually thirsty for novelty, so the risk of quickly getting tired of a designer’s vision is all too real. In light of all this, it becomes clearer how challenging it is to find the right person. So, the task of the new generations of creative directors, after all, will be to hold up what the previous one built, maybe improving on it.
Louis Vuitton – Pharrell Williams
The appointment of Pharrell Williams underscores Louis Vuitton’s commitment to values such as innovation, a pioneering spirit, and entrepreneurship, solidifying the luxury brand’s position as a “cultural maison,” as stated in the announcement. Describing the new creative director for menswear as a global cultural icon, Louis Vuitton emphasizes that Pharrell’s work transcends traditional boundaries between different worlds.
Pharrell’s creative vision, extending beyond the realm of fashion, is expected to guide Louis Vuitton into an exciting new chapter, marking a fresh era for the renowned French luxury fashion house. The process of succession for Virgil Abloh began in January when KidSuper founder Colm Dillane joined as a new designer. However, this role was designed to support the in-house design team for just one season.
via Louis Vuitton
Pharrell Williams now assumes the position of Louis Vuitton’s first permanent creative director for menswear since the passing of Virgil Abloh in November 2021. While Abloh officially held the title of artistic director of menswear, Williams, recognized as a confidant and companion of the late designer Virgil Abloh, steps into this role to continue Abloh’s legacy.
“We are going even further in the model of the artistic director focused on image as opposed to the couturier. Pharrell Williams knows how to capture coolness,” says Benjamin Simmenauer, professor at Institut Français de la Mode in Paris.
Simon Longland, the director of fashion buying at Harrods, is intrigued to see Pharrell’s unique sense of personal style and clean-cut maximalism come to life and push the boundaries of the house’s iconic DNA, with the resources, skills, and abilities from the incredibly talented team in the Vuitton atelier, who they have seen deliver successful collections over the past three seasons. This is a fascinating move from Louis Vuitton, which never ceases to demonstrate its ability to deliver the unexpected.
Sabato De Sarno – Gucci
On Saturday, January 28, 2023, the French luxury powerhouse announced the successor to Alessandro Michele. Sabato De Sarno will assume the role of Creative Director of the fashion house. One hundred and two years after Guccio Gucci opened his first store in Florence, the French maison is now under the creative guidance of De Sarno, and we are confident that the brand will continue to influence fashion and culture through highly desirable products and collections, contributing with a unique and contemporary perspective to modern luxury.
Taking a step back, the evolution of Gucci was initiated by Alessandro Michele, who officially became Creative Director in January 2015, just two days after the men’s fall/winter 2015-16 fashion show, produced in record time following the departure of Frida Giannini a few days earlier. Michele was selected by Marco Bizzarri. Michele not only revolutionized Gucci’s aesthetic but also orchestrated a return to hyper-decorativism in numerous collections, spanning from luxury to fast fashion. Michele’s imprint also influenced the brand’s communication strategies through the introduction of sophisticated cultural references, collaborations with artists such as Harry Styles, Elton John, and Gus Van Sant, special initiatives supporting emerging brands, concrete sustainability projects, and experiments in the Metaverse. However, despite Michele’s significant successes, recent financial reports have highlighted a slowdown for the brand, especially compared to the overall growth of the group.
via ELLE Decor
Bizzarri, along with De Sarno, this time looked beyond the brand’s perimeter, focusing on the generational shift within the Kering group (of which Gucci is a part), which has already brought great successes. This includes the revival of Bottega Veneta with Daniel Lee (now at Burberry), renewed enthusiasm for the brand with successor Mathieu Blazy, and the appointment of Demna Gvasalia (then mentioned by his full name) as the head of Balenciaga in 2015, the same year as Michele’s debut. Sabato De Sarno now faces the challenging task of steering the brand in a new direction.
For years, Michele and Gucci were widely identified by the public as a unique and inseparable identity, and the new designer inherits this legacy. Interpreting the heritage codes of a fashion house in a new way is already a significant responsibility for a designer, but it becomes even more complicated when, in recent years, additional codes have been added that are intrinsically linked to the values of inclusivity and diversity that the brand had championed.
Peter Hawkins – Tom Ford
A further significant change in the creative leadership of a high-fashion brand has been observed at Tom Ford, where Peter Hawkins has been appointed as the creative director. Hawkins has been working alongside Tom Ford for nearly twenty-five years, most recently serving as the Senior Vice President of TOM FORD Menswear. Starting this year, he will succeed Tom Ford in his creative director responsibilities for women’s, men’s, and accessories categories, also taking on the role of the principal designer for collections and runway shows.
Hawkins, virtually unknown just a few months ago, suddenly had one of the biggest roles in menswear. “I think while it was kind of daunting at the beginning, it just felt like a kind of natural evolution both for me and for the brand,” Hawkins said backstage. “And obviously having worked for Tom for 25 years, him handing over the brand meant everything to me. It’s amazing.”
What emerges from Peter’s initial words is the joy of following in the footsteps of a designer (and a good friend), creatively directing a brand he loves. Tom Ford has always been a brand known for a distinct interpretation of women and men: women portrayed with fabulous boldness, and men characterized by an unchanging essence. This is precisely the same approach to dressing that Peter Hawkins brings. The new creative director intends to evolve the image of women, portraying a woman who moves in one direction, then another, and yet another. This continuity, this consistency in understanding who the man and woman of Tom Ford are, is very important to Peter Hawkins.
Behind this fashion vision, however, there is a very specific message aimed at maintaining a certain coherence. Branding, images, Instagram, the website—the entire world through which a brand communicates with the public—should have a kind of continuity, as it is still about dressing both men and women on the red carpet and in real life. The men and women who wear Tom Ford are obsessed with quality, unafraid to be the most glamorous couple wherever they are, and extremely confident in their style, look, and beauty. Historically, the Tom Ford man was not matched with the woman, but Peter’s hope is to bring these two worlds closer so that they coexist visually and ideologically.
Matthew Williams to Exit Givenchy
Moreover, this year, Matthew Williams left his role as the creative director of Givenchy after a tenure of three and a half years, as announced by the Paris-based fashion house in a brief statement. The American designer gained prominence for his work with artists like Kanye West before establishing his own label, 1017 Alyx 9SM, in 2015. Known for his haute streetwear aesthetic that combines sleek tailoring with utility-inspired metallic accents, Williams recently attracted a new investor, Hong Kong-based entrepreneur Adrien Cheng, for Alyx.
During his time at Givenchy, Williams faced initial challenges amid the pandemic, limiting exposure for his early shows. Despite mixed reviews for his initial collections, the designer found more stability by blending his punkish streetwear style with the house’s history, with assistance from stylist Carine Roitfeld. However, Givenchy’s fashion message remained somewhat unclear, transitioning from Riccardo Tisci’s gothic couture-meets-streetwear to Clare Waight Keller’s back-to-the-archives classic vision.
Givenchy seemingly needed a clearer and more captivating fashion direction, as well as increased investments from its parent company to compete with growing mega-brands like Celine and Loewe. Succession plans have not been disclosed, and some insiders speculate that Sarah Burton, the acclaimed successor to the late Alexander McQueen, could be a strong contender. However, the fashion industry is eagerly awaiting news on the future endeavors of designers such as Alessandro Michele and Riccardo Tisci. In the interim, Givenchy’s collections will be designed by its in-house studio team until a new creative director is appointed.
Seán McGirr – Alexander McQueen
Following numerous speculations during Paris Fashion Week for the spring-summer 2024 season, Alexander McQueen has officially revealed the new creative director for the fashion house: Seán McGirr. McGirr takes over from Sarah Burton, who dedicated 26 years to McQueen, serving as creative director for 13 of them. After announcing her departure from the company in early September, Burton bid farewell with a poignant final show in Paris, paying tribute to the brand’s founder, Alexander McQueen. Burton assumed the role of creative director in 2010 following McQueen’s passing. Joining JW Anderson in 2020 as the head of menswear, McGirr progressed to oversee womenswear and then the entire ready-to-wear line.
via Vogue Italia
Prior to that, he worked as a designer for women’s collections at Dries Van Noten and contributed to Christophe Lemaire’s collections at Uniqlo’s creative studios. McGirr initiated his career as an assistant at Burberry and Vogue Hommes Japan after obtaining a Master of Arts (MA) from Central Saint Martins in 2014. Gianfilippo Testa, the brand’s CEO, expressed his satisfaction in announcing Seán McGirr as the new creative director. McGirr’s wealth of experience, distinctive personality, and creative vigor will imbue Alexander McQueen with a robust creative language, while further enhancing the fashion house’s unique legacy.
Davide Renne – Moschino
A few months ago, we announced the appointment of Davide Renne as the creative director of Moschino. Today, it is with deep sorrow that we acknowledge his untimely passing at the age of 46. The cause of his death was a sudden heart attack, leading to surgery on November 6, 2023, in Milan. It is disheartening to reflect on the fact that a young and dedicated designer, who had finally found the opportunity to step into the forefront of the fashion industry after working alongside Alessandro Dell’Acqua and Alessandro Michele, was unable to fully experience the chance to establish himself.
via Vanity Fair
Described as “a brilliant designer and a special human being” just three weeks ago by Massimo Ferretti, the President of Aeffe SpA, the parent company of Moschino, Davide Renne was not only recognized for his evident talent but also for his kindness, sensitivity, and the qualities of an artist that set him apart. Ferretti, having known Davide personally, was struck not only by his artistic prowess but also by his admirable dedication to the art of fashion. Renne will be remembered as an artist whose potential was tragically cut short, leaving a void in the world of fashion.
Let’s now deepdive into the main changes regarding ownership and generational shift in large family businesses.
First in the list is Armani, whose succession document has been recently revealed. The great empire Giorgio created, that goes well beyond fashion with perfume, furniture and hotels, is today worth more than 2 billion euros. He was also able to provide a plan to make sure it outlasts him. Giorgio Armani’s succession plan unveils a fresh lineup of successors, encompassing his sister Rosanna, three nieces Silvana, Roberta, and Andrea, his longstanding collaborator and right-hand Pantaleo Dell’Orco, and a charitable foundation.
Another widely discussed and anticipated succession concerns the Arnault family and the luxury giant LVMH. From the information available to the public it seems like Bernard Arnault is slowly and meticulously building his way to retirement, with all his five children heavily involved in the senior leadership of several of the company’s most visible brands.
However the control of LVMH will probably be taken by a limited partnership called Financière Agache, whose general partner’s shares are divided amongst the five children. Furthermore a 30-years prohibition to sell is applied to their stakes to ensure long-time family control from the Arnault family.
via Daily Mail
Moving our focus to Moncler, the Ruffini family has diversified its investments with the company Archive where Pietro and Romeo now have different roles in various sectors while for now Remo still holds the role of Moncler CEO.
Son of Miuccia Prada, Lorenzo Bertelli, first entered the company in 2015 with great achievements in sustainability and marketing strategies. He is now, since last year, Executive Director of Prada spa
Lastly the king of cashmere itself: Brunello Cuccinelli, despite both of his daughters having relevant roles in the company the leadership might be taken by Riccardo Stefanelli, husband of his first daughter and Luca Lisandroni, his right hand man.
The year 2023 came with a diverse range of new trends, while some classic favorites made a remarkable comeback. Let’s delve into some of the most prominent ones.
The ‘bigger is better’ mantra dominated the bag trend this year. Maxi bags made a striking comeback on the runways of spring 2023, flaunted by luxury brands like Bottega Veneta, Prada, and Givenchy. These oversized bags fuse functionality with haute couture, exuding a professional ‘businesswoman’ vibe that can elevate any outfit. YSL’s Icare bag, Polene Paris Bags, Bottega’s Jodie Bags, and Chanel’s Deauville Tote Bag were among the year’s most trending items.
With their classy, elegant, fuzzy, and cozy looks, this year, fur coats have been the center of winter fashion. The appeal of this Slavic-inspired aesthetic spread rapidly with the arrival of cold weather. Alongside, chunky knits emerged in the spotlight, adorning everything from scarves to sweaters. Acne Studios’ “Mohair Checked Scarf” and Missoni’s “Zigzag Wool Blend Scarf with Fringes” became instant favorites among fashion enthusiasts.
Shoes played a pivotal role in the 2023 fashion statements. Pointy kitten heels stole the show with their refined and sophisticated appearance. Prada’s white pumps and Miu Miu’s Patent Leather Slingbacks stood as exemplary choices. Ballet flats, especially Miu Miu’s Ballet Flats or Jeffrey Campbell Ballotté Buckled Ballet Flats, received adoration from fashion lovers as well as the Mary Janes. Givenchy’s “Shark Lock boots” made a nostalgic return from the early 2000s, while Miu Miu’s buckle-detailed leather boots could be spotted everywhere.
The color ‘Gucci Red’, also dubbed as ‘cherry mocha’ on social media, dominated the fashion and beauty landscape, gracing bags, shoes, tops, and so on. This color even became a go-to choice for nail polish and makeup products. Moreover, with the shift to all things maximal, chunky accessories became a fashion staple this year. Big rings, statement necklaces, and layered bracelets were a must in every look, making any outfit more interesting. Another notable addition was the sparkling metallic jeans and skirts, perfect for any night-out look, radiating sophistication and allure as the center of attention.
Among the numerous fashion items under the spotlight in 2023, these were some of the most notable ones that you might have also embraced in your wardrobe this year.
During this year 2023, big fashion events took place and made an impression. Let’s do a quick review !
The comeback: Haider Ackermann
The designer Haider Ackermann started the year by being the guest-designer at Jean Paul Gaultier’s show in January presenting a collection reminding everyone of his talent.
The blend between fashion and sports: Rihanna at the Super Bowl
Rihanna performed live at the Super Bowl halftime show in a custom-made Loewe suit and an Alaïa leather coat. Moreover, the celebrity also used this opportunity to announce her second pregnancy !
via Teen Vogue
The tribute: Karl’s Chanel at the Met Gala
The famous Costume Institute’s exhibition chose to unveil vintage treasures once again by choosing Karl Lagarfeld’s collections as its theme this year.
The most fashionable tour: Beyoncé’s Renaissance
On her 56 tour dates, the singer managed to surprise us all every time with one new look: Loewe, Courrèges, Mugler, Marni, Diesel, Jean Paul Gaultier, Alexander McQueen, … In short, all the coolest brands were part of it !
The unexpected event: Chanel cruise in Manchester
Manchester isn’t really the first city you would think of when hearing the word « fashion », however it’s where Chanel decided to host its Métiers d’Art show in December. The brand wanted to pay homage to the city’s pop spirit and to British music and the collection featured uniform-inspired tailoring and bright colors.
The fashion campaign: Maggie Smith for Loewe
Loewe ads usually feature a vast diversity of talents and for his latest campaign Jonathan Anderson chose Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey and Harry Potter’s star. This choice settles in an era of evolution and a growing demand for new representations in the fashion sphere.