You probably have your favorite brands, right? But do you know who the designers behind the name of said brands are? Who is curating such amazing collections throughout the year? I want to get to that, but first, let’s touch on an article I recently came across in WWD entitled:
What to Watch: Are Creative Tenures Getting Shorter at Europe’s Heritage Brands?
In that article, WWD stated that a WWD analysis of designer appointments shows that half the creative directors at roughly 40 European heritage houses have been in their positions for five years or less.
I found this hard to believe, even though the facts were laid out extensively throughout the article (Article in WWD). It mentioned how easily the fashion industry can dispose of a creative director and, with them, their whole creative team.
I get it. Fashion is fast! It’s always moving and always changing. One prominent Paris academic suggests that fashion seems to be moving toward a “biennale model,” wherein designers cycle in and out of brands for brief “interventions” rather than in-depth explorations and deep change. It’s as if design ideas are replaceable, or should be replaced in this cyclical way.
The Article in WWD goes on and Floriane de Saint Pierre, founder and principal of executive search and consulting firm Floriane de Saint Pierre & Associés in Paris, also highlighted that most of the multibillion-dollar heritage brands in Europe and the U.S. have had the same creative director for seven years or more. These include Hermès, Louis Vuitton women’s, Loewe, Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Valentino, Coach and, until last November, Gucci, which parted ways with Alessandro Michele.
And its director of research, said: “The main factor affecting the length of designer tenures is profit.”
(Quoted in WWD Article) In Simmenauer’s view, the key for commercial success “... seems to be 90 percent repetition and 10 percent variation” in collections, as clients want to build consistent wardrobes. “What most people prefer is not radical novelty, but the return of the same products with minor transformations.” (Quoted in WWD Article)
The pressure to keep making money at times (I can only imagine) stifles the creativity and integrity of the designs and designers. How much profit do these houses consider to be acceptable?
If it seems to be 90% repetition in design collections, then what are these Designers really able to create? Are the fashion houses really allowing their Creative Directors and teams “true” fashion expression?
I found this comment interesting and also alarming…
There is a “mania for the new” that infiltrates most aspects of fashion, and now the creative aspect, also. “Everyone is consumed quite quickly.” (Referencing a quote from Pecorari in WWD Article)
What is society and “the business machines” demanding from these brands that are making the turnaround of jobs and designs so replaceable?
Are we really so manic for the new?
I think we as a society are beginning to realize “the game” and are choosing more circular fashion, thus continuing to root for our favorite Creative Directors despite what their yearly profits or revenue might dictate for a particular fashion house.
Creative Directors are developing the vision for the whole brand. They’re there to provide the story.
We are in it for the fashion story not the manic hype, right!?
At least, I’d hope so…
Without further adieu…The Top 20 Most Popular Luxury Brands in 2023 and Their Amazing Creative Directors:
- Gucci - The French group Kering, which owns Gucci among other luxury brands Kering has not revealed who will succeed Alessandro Michele, who left with immediate effect in November 2022 (Article by The Guardian). Read more about Alessandro Michele in my blog “Parting Ways & Parting Perspectives: Alessandro Michele Departs Gucci”. Here is a link to Vogue’s Collection on Alessandro.
- Dior - Maria Grazia Chiuri
- Chanel - Virginie Viard
- Louis Vuitton - Nicolas Ghesquière
- Hermès - Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski
- Rolex - John Tymkiw
- Tiffany & Co. - Ruba Abu-Nimah
- Prada - Miuccia Prada
- Versace - Donatella Versace
- Ralph Lauren - Jack Becht
- Giorgio Armani - Adam Prada
- Cartiern - Marie-Laure Cérède
- Valentino Garavani - Pierpaolo Piccioli
- Balenciaga - Demna Gvasalia
- Estée Lauder - Matthew Parr
- Yves Saint Laurent - Anthony Vaccarello
- Alexander McQueen - Sarah Burton
- Fendi - Kim Jones
- Givenchy - Matthew Williams
- Dolce & Gabbana - Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana