The time that exists between the major fashion shows can often be a snooze, but the past few years have shown by example that the industry doesn’t slow for a minute. This year in particular has been full of surprises. Even though the year hasn’t quite come to a close we’re far enough along to revisit four of 2013’s most important moments.
1. Nicolas Ghesquière takes over Louis Vuitton.
Only yesterday, LVMH, the French conglomerate that own Louis Vuitton, Marc, Jacobs, Donna Karan, Fendi and Dior among other labels, named Ghesquière artistic director for Louis Vuitton’s womenswear.
Ghesquière first came to prominence in the late 1990s when he became head designer of Balenciaga, what was then a dormant and nearly forgotten label from haute couture’s golden age. He invigorated the brand with edgy, futuristic designs and remained at Balenciaga for 15 years until leaving a year ago.
This appointment makes him only the second designer to ever design clothes for the brand. Marc Jacobs was the first and his last presentation for the brand was in October.
2. Marc Jacobs leaves Louis Vuitton.
Marc Jacobs seemed like an odd choice when he was appointed as the first designer to make clothes for Louis Vuitton in 1997. At that time Vuitton was small trunk-maker whose name was largely known only to those with a great deal of money to burn.
After 16 years, numerous artist collaborations with the likes of Takashi Murakami and increasingly elaborate runways shows, Jacobs turned the company into a brand known around the world.
The company is not only famous, but has the funds to back up its name with roughly $9.5 billion in annual sales, with the label’s actual value even more than that.
Jacobs plans to focus on his namesake label and is said to be preparing to take his company public within the next few years.
3. Alexander Wang replaces Nicolas Ghesquière at Balenciaga.
I realize that listing these shifting designers might seem ridiculous to some, but it speaks to the nature of the fashion industry at the moment. Designers are now seen as commodities, cards to be traded or cast away rather than nurtured and encouraged. All of them were in place for more than a decade and such a shakeup is worth taking note.
Wang is a young designer entrusted with one of the crown jewels of French fashion. Despite continued American success in the arena for several decades, many Europeans still see American designers as unoriginal, redundant and boring. Wang’s placement caused much controversy as the uncertainty of whether or not a sportswear designer could produce high French fashion grew.
Wang has been met with positive reviews and has pleased even his harshest critics, like the New York Times’ Cathy Horyn.
4. Disgraced designer John Galliano teams up with Oscar de la Renta.
John Galliano was once the foremost designer of his generation who made his way from the rough neighborhoods of London to being the creative director of Christian Dior. In 2011, Galliano’s troubles with addiction came to light when an alcohol-fueled, anti-Semitic rant was captured on tape by diners at a Parisian café.
After nearly two years out of the spotlight and post-treatment, Galliano was announced as a “designer in residence” in de la Renta’s New York atelier. De la Renta, a favorite of ladies who lunch, has been a fixture of New York City’s 7th Avenue for decades and the combination seemed unusual to many.
In February de la Renta presented his Fall 2013 collection to positive reviews. Hints of Galliano could be found throughout the collection, whether in the cloche hats, drape-y tailoring or dramatic color combinations. Time will tell if Galliano can translate this one success into a second chance.