Welcome To The New Gods of Fashion

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New-Fashion-Brands

Exit Yves, Christian, Karl, Raf, Albert… Welcome to Cristiano, Robyn or Gwyneth. The fashion world has dramatically changed. The old gods were replaced by new ones. New idols replace previous icons. Fashionistas replace Couturiers and Fashion labels erase Fashion houses. That is the way the world goes and it seems this change is here to stay.

The Old Gods Of Fashion Gone Bad

Alexander-McQueen
Alexander McQueen

Every chain reaction has a starting point. In our case here it all started back in 2007 when Hedi Slimane resigned from his position at Dior Homme. At that time everybody was shocked. When Hedi Slimane took over the artistic direction of Dior homme in 2000, he reshaped the fashion brand and satellized the Dior name into the stars of fashion desire. The Slimane look was born, very black tie, slim and rock. He became the same time a fashion icon and probably he was and still is one of the most influential people in the world of fashion and photography. So at the top of his work in Dior Homme, Hedi Slimane decided to leave the fashion house in 2007 because he did not have the right conditions to create and develop his artistic work. Never before an artistic director resigned of his own will. At this time we could already feel that the fashion industry was little by little killing the fashion art. Today, almost 10 years later, fashion bleeding continues:

  • Raf Simons
  • Albert Elbaz
  • Christophe Decarnin
  • John Galliano
  • Alexander McQueen
  • Brendan Mullane
  • Alexandro Sartori
  • Stefano Pilati
  • Hedi Slimane (again)

Alexander McQueen was gone at the top of his art, John Galliano just got crazy while driving the media machine that was Dior Couture and Prêt-à-porter at that time. Stefano Pilati had already left Yves Saint Laurent to join the Ermenegildo Zegna group and then left his position again. 

Raf Simons and Albert Albaz both declared that basically, they felt like being lemons that you press the juice to the very last drop. The pressure of 4 to 6 collections per year, the PR pressure and the growing challenges of industry seeking rentability are pathetic. How can you create an original and innovative fashion item without the correct amount of time. Most of the time you have basically weeks to create and build the next big thing. 

Alessandro-Sartori-Creative-Director
Alessandro Sartori

Alessandro Sartori is considered as one of the most gifted and creative tailor-man in all Italy. Since 2011, he was asked by Bernard Arnaud, to reinvent Berluti. He launched amazing collections that definitely hit the spotlights, bringing the Italian Bottier to the forefront of avant-garde. According to LVMH, Sartori’s collections did not find the expected traditional Berluti customer. He was asked to make some changes in order to be more consensuous. An agreement was basically impossible as we can imagine that such a creative talent do not wish to level down things by taking the lowest common denominator.

Raf-simons-dior
Raf Simons

When Raf Simons arrived at Dior Femme, after a disastrous end with Galliano, all the press was 100% positive about this new collaboration. Everybody would say that Raf Simons had the talent, the perfectionism and the modern cut that Dior deserved. He was expected to calm down the game and get back to a brand construction. After amazing success with his own brand Raf by Raf Simons, the Belgian creator was the best choice for Dior. On the 9th of April 2012 joins the House of Dior as Artistic Director, 15 month after the departure of Galliano. He had under his responsibility Couture, Pret-à-porter and fashion accessories. He was the perfect translation of what Dior’s newlook would be in the years 2000. He was nominated at the Crystal globes as per best fashion designer in the world. Despite of getting such a positive feeling, he decided to resign from Dior on October 22nd 2015. The pressure and the lack of time to produce his art was not helping the emancipation of a creative mind. So the Belgian gifted fashion creator decided that it was better to leave than doing compromises. Raf Simons is considered as one of the most important fashion creators of the past 10 years. 

Steafno-Pilati-Fashion-Artist
Stefano Pilati

Stefano Pilati was born in Milan in 1965. He is one of the most talented creators of his generation. After collaborating with Tom Ford, he took over Yves Saint Laurent in 2004. A first collection was considered disappointing by the critics but very fast, Stefano Pilati found the right path and places Yves Saint Laurent on track for success. Again, the amazing work that Pilati did with Saint Laurent did not convince the board and after some heavy discussions, the collaboration ended up in 2012. 

Hedi-Slimane-Celine-New-Creative-Director-Fashion-blog
Hedi Slimane

Last but not least, the one and only Hedi Slimane! When back in July 2007 he decided to quit Dior Homme, it was a blast in this industry. LVMH even proposed to finance Slimane own brandbut the French creator refused. The message started being very clear: a creative mind has less and less room to express his talent. The rhythm of collections, the PR expectations and the business behind it do not allow it. 5 years later, Hedi Slimane joins Yves Saint Laurent (2012) after Stefano Pilati’s departure.

On his own words, he becomes the “Directeur de la Création pour la Couture”. He decides to change the brand name to Saint Laurent Paris and delocalize the creative studio to Los Angeles. The Kering Group, the owner of the brand, saw Hedi Slimane as a very positive addition to the Yves Saint Laurent universe. Hedi Slimane has already worked for the luxury fashion house from 1996 and 2000, and the idea was to get back to a more Saint Laurent style with a hint of modernity. 3 years later, Hedi Slimane decides to quit the brand as there are “differences of opinion” between him and the group. Lately, he joined CELINE as Creative and Artistic Director.

The New Gods of Fashion Shine bright like Diamonds.

By exiting the old Gods, the fashion industry needs new idols. Fashion will always move forward, no matter the price to pay. By exiting the real fashion artists, fashion became a real PR machine and to maintain the communication machinery working, a new generation of brands appeared featuring new stars like Rihanna, Gwyneth Paltrow or Soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo. The world has changed. Fashion luxury houses become more like labels and the creative driving forces are mostly PR ambassadors.

FENTY, Luxury house by Rihanna x LVMH

fente-lvmh-rihanna

This month LVMH announced the creation of the luxury house: FENTY in partnership with Rihanna. The deal makes the singer, whose full name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty, the first black female to head up a fashion house at the company, which owns a sprawling portfolio of top brands, ranging from fashion labels Givenchy, Dior and Celine to the Dom Pérignon and Moët & Chandon champagnes and Hublot and TAG Heuer watches.

The new venture will take Rihanna’s surname Fenty, mirroring her already established Fenty Beauty line, which is also controlled by LVMH. The new fashion label will debut within weeks, selling ready-to-wear clothes, shoes and accessories and will be based in Paris, prompting speculation that it will become a feature of the official Paris fashion week schedule.

Robyn Rihanna Fenty declared: “Designing a line like this with LVMH is an incredibly special moment for us. Mr. Arnault has given me a unique opportunity to develop a fashion house in the luxury sector, with no artistic limits. I couldn’t imagine a better partner both creatively and business-wise, and I’m ready for the world to see what we have built together.”

Bernard Arnault, Chairman and CEO of LVMH, added: “Everybody knows Rihanna as a wonderful singer, but through our partnership at Fenty Beauty, I discovered a true entrepreneur, a real CEO and a terrific leader. She naturally finds her full place within LVMH. To support Rihanna to start up the Fenty Maison, we have built a talented and multicultural team supported by the Group resources. I am proud that LVMH is leading this venture and wish it will be a great success.”

Goop: Gwyneth Paltrow lifestyle

Coop-Gwyneth-Paltrow

Goop (often stylized as goop) is a natural health company owned by actress Gwyneth Paltrow. It was launched as a “lifestyle brand” by Paltrow in September 2008, beginning as a weekly e-mail newsletter providing new age advice, such as “police your thoughts” and “eliminate white foods”, and the slogan “Nourish the Inner Aspect”. A lifestyle website was later added, and then Goop expanded into e-commerce, collaborating with fashion brands, launching pop-up shops, holding a “wellness summit”, launching a print magazine, a podcast, and a docuseries to be streamed on Netflix.

In June 2018, Goop opened its first international pop-up shop in London. In January 2019, the shop became a permanent Goop store. The company also hired its first chief marketing officer, Andres Sosa, to work on further expansion in the UK. In August 2018, Goop launched a furniture and home decor line with Crate and Barrel’s CB2 brand

CR7, Fashion brand of Cristiano Ronaldo

CR7-Cristiano-Ronaldo

Do you know CR7? It is the fashion brand of Portuguese super-star Cristiano Ronaldo. In November 2013, Ronaldo partnered with JBS Textile Group, a Scandinavian manufacturer, as well as Richard Chai, a New York-based fashion designer, to co-design his range of underwear and sock line. He has repeatedly dropped his pants and posed in his own underwear line. In 2017, his second underwear collection was launched in 7 different cities across the world, including New York, and he was again seen in some hot ad campaigns for the same!

In July 2014, he also launched his line of premium shirts and shoes. His footwear collection was expanded in 2015, and Ronaldo was seen walking the ramp to showcase his collection. That same year, he also launched a collection of footwear for children, i.e. CR7 Junior, hand-crafted in bespoke colours to fit the young customers.

In 2015, he also announced the release of his fragrance collection, in partnership with Eden Perfumes. His most recent advancement has been in 2017, when Ronaldo went a step ahead with his denim and shirt collection of CR7, as he collaborated with South Africa-based Uniti Fashion for the manufacturing and distribution of his products. He has also partnered with Zalora, Zalando, Myntra and Namshi for their distribution.

Lindsey Vonn x Under Armour, Sports Designer

Lindsey Vonn, the world’s greatest female ski racer, has always been a sharp dresser off the slopes. But she has never had her own ski gear collection – until recently. Vonn and her long-time sponsor, US sportswear brand Under Armour, launched the skier’s own clothing line. The launch of the collection comes at an important time for Under Armour, which in 2017 posted its first sales decline as a public company. Vonn was one of the company’s first athlete signings and has been with the brand, which was founded by former college football player Kevin Plank in 1996 and is now competing with the likes of Nike and Adidas, for 11 years.

In Conclusion…
André Malraux used to say that the past and the future, heritage and modernity are not antagonists. At the contrary, heritage and history can be strong sources of creativity and modernity. This is a state of mind and a strong philosophy that timeless brands know very well. So why the Fashion industry has decided to start from scratch a new model based on PR celebrities? Where are the new fashion artists from Central St. Martin School, FIT, Parsons, Antwerp or ESMOD? It seems big luxury groups would see a faster return on investment by giving the chance to non-fashion artists rather than promoting young creators into the international scene. Hopefully, talent will separate the good from the bad and history will perpetuate the amazing heritage of fashion.

José Amorim
Information sourced by the author for luxuryactivist.com. All content is copyrighted with no reproduction rights available. Images are for illustration purposes only.

José Amorim

José Amorim has been working in the luxury industry for more than 15 years. In the past 8 years, he joined his personal passion for digital culture and his luxury background to develop digital strategies for premium brands. He is the founder of LuxuryActivist.com and is happy to share his passion here.