“Dior is delighted to welcome Ms. Maria Chiuri as artistic director of women’s couture, RTW and accessory collections pic.twitter.com/Bh9pR6Hxyx“
— Dior (@Dior) July 8, 2016
You hopefully took the opportunity over the long weekend to unplug and spend some time with friends and family and, if you did, chances are that you missed several stories in fashion that have either been in development for a while now or seemingly came out of left field. The first major fashion story from the weekend was Dior’s official announcement of Maria Grazia Chiuri (formerly of Valentino) as the new Creative Director of the brand, replacing interim designers Serge Ruffieux and Lucie Meier. While we reported on the breaking story two weeks ago, it wasn’t until after Dior’s Fall 2016 Couture presentation that the brand formalized the announcement. This means that a woman is at the helm of Dior for the first time in its history and that Chiuri’s co-designed creations for Valentino Fall 2016 Couture were her last for the Italian brand.
Although we’ve been clocking the development of Dior’s story for some time now, we were not at all prepared for the other big announcement that occurred over the weekend – Olivier Theyskens is back! The beloved Belgian designer, who has been carving his reputation in the industry since 1997, took a hiatus from the fashion world over the past two years. After heading Theory, where he designed under the umbrella of the New York-based brand, his return to fashion indicates that he is now ready to take on a namesake label once more. His first collection since the hiatus will be presented during Paris Fashion Week this coming fall.
What makes Theyskens’ relaunch an interesting case study is that the designer had the ability and business savvy to create a brand that delivered a direct-to-consumer model in keeping with the actual retail schedule, but has chosen to show according to the traditional ahead-of-season model (showing spring in fall, and fall in spring) instead. Theyskens’ deliberate choice indicates that some designers still see the original model as the more sustainable version. Truly, we can’t argue that the direct-to-consumer model has yet to be road-tested, even by the pioneering early adopters like Burberry.