Thinking Fashion

Maria Grazia Chiuri at Dior. Until When?

Until a couple of years ago, I knew by heart the names of the creative directors of the main luxury brands, even at those less ‘mainstream’. I really enjoyed looking at the show pictures, learning about their professional journeys and see the evolution between each collection. Nowadays, I must confess, my interest has faded, maybe because it’s so difficult to keep up with names without a quick check on Google as the musical chair is so fast as the change of looks of those street style stars during fashion weeks.

So, before cheering the official announcement of Maria Grazia Chiuri at Dior, I keep asking myself how long she will last there. If she goes beyond 2 years, will reach a great mark, if she makes 5, it will be like a 25 year wedding anniversary! More than that is a life contract for the current standards… The same is applicable to Anthony Vaccarello at Saint Laurent (or Yves Saint Laurent again?), Demna Gvasalia at Balenciaga and whoever I’m forgetting but was recently appointed – Raf Simons is not officially at Calvin Klein..

I’m sure Maria Grazia will be great looking after the womenswear and accessories, combining Dior codes with her romantic style, full of historical and artistic references – something that both John Galliano and Raf did so well. However, we now have a woman’s vision, which may bring a more practical approach in the end of the day. Let’s watch this space.

In the middle of this musical chair craziness, what really bothers is the brand image dilution and a certain inconsistency feeling that can hurt the luxury market. Fashion if ephemeral and disposable, but the identity is not. When it is weakened, the consumer perceives it, feels confused and a little betrayed. Sometimes, change is positive, like in Alessandro Michele’s case at Gucci. Nevertheless, Alexander Wang brief stint at Balenciaga has contributed to the lack of impact in his collections. Even Nicholas Ghesquière hasn’t achieved the level of commotion Marc Jacobs had at Louis Vuitton. I wonder if Bouchra Jarrar, at Lanvin, and Vaccarello, at Saint Laurent, will create a legacy like their predecessors (Alber Elbaz and Hedi Slimane/Stefano Pilati)? I’m probably leaving someone out of the list, but can you see where this is going? In this Snapchat times, ensuring a brand will be understood like a movie is getting more and more challenging…

 

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