The luxury fashion shake up: Berluti, Burberry and Givenchy lead the runway revamp
As another luxury label makes a change, Tempus examines the catalysts for change in the fashion industry
Following the surprising announcement that fashion designer Kris Van Assche is to leave the helm of Dior Homme to pursue the new role of Artistic Director over at Berluti, it's fair to compare the current state of the fashion industry to a catalyst of change as creative upheaval is widespread. Succeeding Haider Ackermann in the position, Van Assche will debut his first men’s collection for the brand in January 2019, and has hinted at plans to transform the relaxed, feminine aesthetic it has become so synonymous with, into an ambitious future for the fashion house.
"[CEO] Antoine Arnault spoke to me of his ambitions for Berluti and it is with great pleasure that I accept this new challenge which fits perfectly with my own will and vision," he said. “I have always wanted to build bridges between the savoir-faire, the heritage of a house and my clear-cut contemporary vision."
During his time at Dior Homme, Van Assche modernised the label’s influence enlisting brand ambassadors such as singer Boy George, Depeche Mode vocalist Dave Gahan and rapper A$AP Rocky. The designer is known for his minimalist, boldly textured collections, evoking many different styles, cultures and aesthetics through his incredible attention to detail.
But this isn't the first surprising label switch up this year. In March, Burberry announced Riccardo Tisci had been named as the successor to Christopher Bailey’s reign as Chief Creative Officer, leaving fashion critics quick to comment on – and speculate about – his shocking selection. >>
Tisci is famed for introducing an edgier, gothic aesthetic to Givenchy during his stint from 2005-2017, executing a modern turnaround to the label more commonly associated with sophisticated, feminine staples such as Audrey Hepburn's little black dress. He also enlisted a contemporary celebrity following, including Madonna and Kim Kardashian, designing the wedding dress for the latter's 2014 nuptials to Kanye West, and is credited for his astute prediction of trends including luxury streetwear, designer trainers and increasing diversity on the catwalk.
At the time of his appointment, Tisci indicated Burberry could be in for a similar shake up, citing the British stalwart's "potential". "I am honoured and delighted to be joining Burberry as its new Chief Creative Officer and reuniting with Marco Gobbetti," he said. "I have an enormous respect for Burberry's British heritage and global appeal and I am excited about the potential of this exceptional brand.”
As for Givenchy itself, the new appointment of former Chloé designer Clare Waight Keller may indicate a return to a softer aesthetic – particularly as Keller has been lauded for the floaty, boyish nonchalance of her designs – though certainly not devoid of cinematic drama. At the Palais de Justice in March, her sophomore runway show for the house held a particular film noir ambience. >>
“Through Hubert’s legacy and the actresses he worked with, the house is an intrinsic part of the history of the silver screen,” she said in memory of the Givenchy founder, who died last month. "The collection is loosely based on the nightlife of Berlin in the early 1980s."
While it may seem like a cosmic realignment in the fashion world, it is not the first time the biggest brands aligned in their passion for new blood. In 2016, Christian Dior announced Anthony Vaccarello would replace Hedi Slimane as Creative Director, Maria Grazia Chiuri departed Valentino and was replaced by Pierpaolo Piccioli, and Natacha Ramsay-Levi succeeded Clare Waight Keller at Chloé. Roberto Cavalli, Oscar de la Renta, and Salvatore Ferragamo also all made notable changes to their creative leadership teams.
The recent uptick in sales of luxury goods has also inspired modernisation within the marketplace, from a 'runway to retail' sales model bringing designers like Mulberry and Burberry to a hungry online audience, and a largescale remodelling of Jimmy Choo's sales strategy since the British shoe brand was bought by Michael Kors for $1.2bn last year. So just what could this switch up mean for the future of the runway? No doubt the designers will be eager to reveal all when they debut their collections at Fashion Week this September.