Rumor Has It: Where Fashion’s Top Designers Are Likely to End Up

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raf simons and alber elbaz
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With so many Creative Director positions at top-flight fashion brands now open, rumors are flying around as to who will end up where. Since the start, Savoir Flair has been tracking the stories as they diverge and dovetail. Who will take the reigns at Dior after Raf Simons’ departure? Or occupy the vacancy at Lanvin? What about the rumors that Hedi Slimane is leaving Saint Laurent or that Phoebe Philo wants to leave the empire she has built at Céline? In this feature, we’ll bring you up to speed on the current status of all the rumors and speculation. Of course, after you see how many names are being considered for top positions at Dior and Lanvin, you’ll realize that a whole host of other spots might be opening up soon as well.

The Dior Vacancy

There are several contenders for the position at Dior, which Simons vacated in November after citing the stress and instability that increasing pressure to perform for the bottom line brought into his life.

The most surprising choice would have to be Sarah Burton, whom Fashion Week Daily reported is in talks with Dior to take over the position. This rumor seems like a bit of a stretch given Burton’s 19-year loyalty to the Alexander McQueen brand and her faithful commitment to upholding and improving upon the established McQueen aesthetic. However, it is impossible to know the kinds of pressures that are being placed on her by parent company Kering, so maybe there is some truth to the idea that she is searching for greener pastures.

Other contestants in this ever-revolving game of musical chairs are said to be Ricardo Tisci of Givenchy, Joseph Altuzarra, and Olivier Rousteing of Balmain, as reported by Vanessa Friedman of The New York Times. It’s surprising to think that either Tisci or Rousteing would willingly leave the positions that have granted them such elite status in the fashion world for a position that already comes with baggage, but Dior is also a storied maison with one of the world’s best ateliers. Many designers would jump at the chance to claim the throne of Dior.

One option that makes sense is Altuzarra, who is something of a fashion maverick, with his first collection of accessories making a huge editorial splash, and whom many respected voices in the fashion industry – like Tim Blanks – consider to be a genius. He would certainly bring a fresh perspective to the brand, but he does have his own empire to oversee.

Another obvious choice would be Alber Elbaz of Lanvin, who is now a free agent after leaving the French house. Of course, with so many names in the ring, Dior has the luxury of taking its time with the appointment. Instead of naming a new Creative Director right away, the company has chosen instead to have its in-house team design the two new collections for Spring 2016 Couture and Fall/Winter 2016 Ready-to-Wear.

The Lanvin Vacancy

When Alber Elbaz departed Lanvin, the fashion industry was in uproar. Not only was the timing of his exit a surprise – coming less than a week after Simons announced his departure – but so was the fact that the decision was not made because of creative failures, but rather due to an inability on behalf of the brand’s majority shareholder, Shaw-Lan Wang, to adequately capitalize on Lanvin’s development potential. In fact, the 330-person staff at Lanvin protested Wang’s decision to terminate Elbaz and asked Wang to come to Paris in order to hear their concerns and their reasons for wanting to keep Elbaz on board. The request fell on deaf ears.

Since Elbaz’s departure, the brand’s womenswear designer, Chemena Kamali, and head of women’s bags, Lucio Finale, have been appointed to be interim designers. However, a decision might soon be made; Fashion Times recently reported that Erdem Moralioglu was in talks with Lanvin to take over the house.

Savoir Flair will continue to report on the stories as they develop, so stay tuned.

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