We're not even four months into 2018 and the fashion industry won't let us rest! The seemingly endless rotation of designers departing and succeeding at numerous different fashion houses is overwhelming and exciting. Keeping us eagerly at the edge of our seats, the fore-coming changes in the fashion industry will bring forth innovation, inspiration, and novelty.
It first started in January. Hedi Slimane was appointed the new artistic, creative and image director of Céline after the departure of Phoebe Phlio, the brand's creative director of ten years. Next, it was announced that Riccardo Tisci, Givenchy's creative director of twelve years, would take Christopher Bailey's seat as Burberry's new creative head. Following Tisci's appointment, Dior confirmed Kim Jones as their new menswear artistic director upon the announcement that Kris Van Assche would be stepping down from his eleven-year-role. Finally, the most recent announcement; Louis Vuitton named Virgil Abloh as their menswear new artistic director, replacing Kim Jones. You can read all about Abloh's particular appointment here on our last blogpost.
We have great expectations for what's to come to these luxury fashion houses, but also fashion in its entirety. New creatives will put forth their individual touches to brands rich in history, giving them new directions and aesthetics. Céline, Burberry, Dior, and Louis Vuitton are among the few leaders in the luxury hierarchy and their influence determines every aspect of fashion culture.
To start, Céline is a French fashion house acclaimed for their artisanal silhouettes. A brand that thrives off exuding an effortlessly chic aesthetic ideal for the modern woman, Céline embodies contemporary femininity. Loose-fitting garments that compliment the female figure are signatures for the brand. Innovative and expressive, Céline creates timeless pieces that don't conform to conventional fashion norms. Céline redefined what it means to be feminine by making minimalistic and androgynous clothes alluring. An advocator for the "less is more" aesthetic, Céline is always tasteful, understated and never in-your-face by presenting mostly neutral colour palettes. Given that, the brand has always remained low-key on and off the runway. Philo openly admitted at Vogue's Festival in 2014 that she has a "strange, innate feeling about fame," which is evident through the brand's advertising, or lack there of. Céline only joined Instagram in February 2017 just days before its show at Paris Fashion Week. Shortly after, rumours spread that the brand would join the e-commerce world. That has yet to happen, thus Céline remains exclusive to physical retailers.
So what will happen now that Hedi Slimane has taken the creative reigns? Well firstly, Slimane has announced that Céline will release a menswear and fragrance line. Acclaimed for his time at Saint Laurent from 2012-2016, Slimane is fashion's rock n' roll King (with the exception of Lee Alexander McQueen, of course.) Dark colour palettes, masculine femininity, edgy sensuality and rock-tinged silhouettes were exuded in Slimane's previous collections. So what does this mean for Céline? An obvious contrast to the brand's original roots, we wonder if it's possible for Slimane to find a balance between Céline's traditional aesthetic and his love for all things grungy. Deemed a creative genius of his time, the fashion community has full faith in Hedi to successfully deliver - as everything he touches seemingly turns to gold. We certainly don't doubt that whatever he presents will be beautiful.
Burberry is going to be quite the interesting one. Christopher Bailey's seventeen year reign at the brand concluded when he announced his departure just ten days before his February show at London Fashion Week. "I keep waiting for a surreal moment or existentialist crisis," he explained when discussing his exit. "Perhaps I haven't really engaged with the finality of it all because I am still in pragmatic mode preshow. But I really do want this. I need some balancing in my life, having worked at a thousand miles an hour for so many years." The fashion industry mourned the end of Bailey's era until it was announced on March 1st that Riccardo Tisci will take his place. Burberry is a proudly British brand that advocates its traditions. Acclaimed for their iconic trench coats and tartan signature, Burberry represents British culture and history. Thus, time progresses and fashion must adapt to the modern world. The brand has always been about heritage and making sure that heritage remains relevant today. Burberry altered it's conservative and traditional aesthetic into a fresher, innovative brand. It's contemporary and fashion-forward, but remains true to its roots.
Given this, it was a surprise that Burberry appointed Riccardo Tisci, an Italian creative, as their new CD. Famous for his twelve years at Givenchy, Tisci's previous collections exude a modern, youthful aesthetic that reference streetwear. Acclaimed for introducing prominent logos on his Givenchy pieces, Tisci is also know for his rebellious, boundary-pushing fashion that champions androgyny and gender fluidity. His friendships with celebrities including the Kardashians, Kanye West, and Beyoncé have given him quite some status of his own. With an Instagram following of 2.3 million, Tisci has a mass audience that includes younger generations. Given this, he will definitely introduce Burberry to a new demographic it wasn't entirely familiar with. His "skill in blending streetwear with high fashion is highly relevant to today's luxury consumer" was a standout line from Burberry's exciting announcement. We hope to see Tisci's personality shine through his pieces by incorporating the edgy, contemporary aesthetic he thrives with, while also staying true to Burberry's classic reputation.
Eighteen days after the appointment of Riccardo Tisci, it was announced that Kim Jones will succeed Kris Van Assche as artistic director of Dior Homme. After seven years at Louis Vuitton, the fashion industry gleed when the news spread that Jones would take the creative reigns. The Dior Homme label is all thanks to Hedi Slimane who famously redefined Dior's menswear line in 2000 by introducing immaculate tailoring and structured, skinny silhouettes. Kris Van Assche was Slimane's assistant, until he took over the brand in 2007. Echoing Slimane's Dior Homme in terms of composition, fit, and silhouette, Van Assche also modernized the brand by incorporating sneakers and luxury athleisure. Dior Homme exudes timeless class with their tailored suits (that remain the brand's signature) but also assimilates modern edge to appeal to a younger cliental.
So what can we expect from London-born designer Kim Jones? Innovation, that is finite. "Kim Jones is one of the most revered designers of his generation," said Edward Enninful, Editor-In-Chief of Vogue UK when discussing Jones' appointment. "From the very beginning of his career, he has always pushed the boundaries of menswear, and brought it into a realm of newness and excitement. His work at Louis Vuitton really took the best elements of the street and mixed them with luxury - and I'm very much looking forward to seeing what he does at Dior."
Jones influenced a new era in fashion with his thorough knowledge of streetwear and sportswear by exuding it into the world of luxury. Jones is a huge fan of collaborations - he feels it is necessary for designers to work together and learn from each other in the process of creating something original. His most acclaimed collaboration was in 2017, when Louis Vuitton collaborated with streetwear brand Supreme - one of the most anticipated and hyped up collections of our generation. Though this pleased the streetwear lovers of the world, Jones is less interested on the hype of streetwear and more on the reality of it's cultural impact. "How many people realistically live with a door-to-door limo service? Not even 1%. But everyone wears clothes on the street," said Jones when discussing modern luxury. He is no stranger to contemporary fashion and incorporating his own inspirations to heritage houses. Whatever Jones brings to Dior Homme will surely be impactful and ingenious.
Louis Vuitton, the latest brand to announce a new creative director. Virgil Abloh is the first black CD for the brand and was appointed the position on March 25th. Louis Vuitton is one of the oldest leading fashion houses of all time. With classic traditions rooted in fashion's history, LV has a reputation for exuding timelessness. Their acclaimed monogram was introduced in 1896 by Georges Vuitton, and as we all know, it remains the brand's signature logo to this day. Famous for their bag and luggage collections, LV is known for their laid-back but uber-luxe aesthetic. The Parisian brand finds the perfect balance between staying true to traditional roots but maintaining an innovative and progressive approach to fashion. Though Kim Jones altered Louis Vuitton's original themes by incorporating his streetwear influence into the brand, we wonder what will happen now that a true streetwear designer, with no formal fashion experience, is in charge of one of the world's most historic fashion houses.
Virgil Abloh, acclaimed for his label Off-White, was a leading designer that helped evolve streetwear into modern fashion culture. Off-White was one of the first brands that bridged the gap between streetwear and high fashion - the line between what was considered luxury and what wasn't started to blur. Abloh, with his 1.9 million following, appeals to a younger demographic that Louis Vuitton has yet to reach. Not only will Abloh continue to unite the two worlds of luxury and street together, but he will also merge the young and the old. Louis Vuitton has an mature cliental and with Abloh's significant influence in modern pop-culture, we expect LV to transform into a youthful, contemporary brand that appeals to younger generations. But will this new direction bring too much hype? Will clout triumph originality and artistry? We can only hope not.
And so we wait. Come September, Hedi Slimane will present his first womenswear and menswear collections for Céline and Riccardo Tisci will present his first collection for Burberry. In June, we can expect Kim Jones's first collection for Dior Homme and Virgil Abloh's first collection for Louis Vuitton. Times are changing, and fashion changes with it. These new creatives will bring forth new ideas, new directions, and new visions that we are more than eager to see. Until then, we will twiddle our thumbs and tap our feet, impatiently waiting to see what's to come.
By: Isabel de Carteret