On reflection: The most significant fashion farewells of 2013
Jil Sander, Emma Hill, Ann Demeulemeester, Marc Jacobs and more
If a designer stays with one fashion house for too long, he begins to exclusively associate his name not only with a specific brand identity, but a recognisable style. Therefore, when the ties break and the brand and the long-time creative director part ways, there is not only uncertainty of who will fill their shoes, but can this "someone" be compared to the famous predecessor? With that being said, we look back on the most significant farewells we've watched over the past year...
Jil Sander - Jil Sander
When in October founder Jil Sander announced her retirement from her eponymous label she founded in 1968, it was like a late rally - again, for the third time? First the designer left her own fashion house in 1999, returned in 2003, but did not linger for long and returned again in 2012, taking the reins from Raf Simons, who at the time worked in the post of creative director at Jil Sander for a solid 7 years. When Sander returned to the label it seemed that this time she was really here to stay - especially as it became clear that the 70-year-old Sander had not lost her talent and brilliantly showcased she could still churn out minimalist masterpieces perfectly. Her latest spring-summer collection was altogether a miracle as well - looking a far cry from a sad farewell, the collection radiated with a fresh and joyous hint towards the beginning of something new. The reason as to why Jil Sander decided to depart, yet again, from her own brand is still not clear, and bystanders await the announcement of who will be the next to fill her shoes. The house's next collection for autumn-winter 2014 will be produced under the direction of an in-house team.
Ann Demeulemeester - Ann Demeulemeester
After almost thirty years of work on November 20, Ann Demeulemeester announced her retirement from her own brand - one of the last representatives of the Antwerp Six - a group of pioneering designers that also included Dries Van Noten and Dirk Bikkembergs. Announcing her decision in an official hand-written letter she wrote, "A new time is coming both for my personal life and the brand Ann Demeulemeester," before adding that the brand now has "its own identity and legacy that is able to continue growing without me". Demeulemeester has not yet confirmed what her next step will be, or her reason for leaving. The brand owner, entrepreneur Anne Chapelle, said that there were no plans to hire a successor at this stage, which leaves us wondering - who will we see enter the picture next to develop the already legendary brand?
Marc Jacobs - Louis Vuitton
Marc Jacobs' departure from Louis Vuitton was no big surprise, after months of speculation about the status of the creative director's contract with the brand the spring-summer 2014 show confirmed his leaving. The staging of the show re-created many of the sets from Jacobs' sixteen-year tenure at the LVMH-owned house. The elevators, the escalators, the carousel, the fountain, and the previous season's hotel corridors were all there as reminders of the designer's astonishing showmanship. The designer dedicated the collection to the many women who have touched or influenced him along the way during his decade and a half in Paris, including designer muses Coco Chanel, Rei Kawakubo, and Miuccia Prada; whose pieces of work were evident in his collection in addition to callbacks to his own greatest hits. Models one after another appeared all in black - black feathers, black dresses, black lace, and an unforgettable transparent jumpsuit inscribed with the Stephen Sprouse-designed LV logo in black was worn by Edie Campbell who made her runway circuit in handcuffs and chains. Attendees of the show who were not aware of the rumors, considered the information and presentation: it's time to bid farewell.
After 16 years working at Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs more than breathed new life into the brand. Before him, the house was nothing but accessories - there was no female clothing line, and the products that were being produced were much more masculine. Marc Jacobs created the Louis Vuitton style from scratch, giving the house its own aesthetics through his talent and drive. Leaving a legacy behind him, its now time for Jacobs to focus on his own brands Marc Jacobs and Marc by Marc Jacobs. Stepping in to fill big shoes is Nicolas Ghesquière, whose return has long been anticipated.
Emma Hill - Mulberry
It may have been a shock but not so much of a surprise to the fashion industry that Emma Hill decided to end her tenure at Mulberry in June of 2013 after having joined the brand in September of 2008. Due to "disagreements with management over creative and operational strategy", Hill and management failed to reach a compromise in determining the operating and creative brand strategies, refusing to comment on the situation. Regardless, we are unlikely to soon forget the last show under the direction of Hill. Talk of the problems rising in the British design house began a while back as the company's shares fell in price and sales decreased. Now adding to the already long list of problems arising at Mulberry, the fashion world is watching and waiting to see who will replace Emma Hill. As the buzz builds around where she is headed next, the press has already discussed nominations for Mulberry's next creative director with names such as Reed Kraroff, Graeme Fidler and Michael Herz, former creative directors at Bally, being tossed about while the question remains open.
Reed Krakoff - Coach
In April, after a solid 16 years of work at Coach, the global accessories brand, Reed Krakoff announced his impending departure from the brand, coming to a close in June of 2014 when his contract is due to expire. "I'm [pleased] to focus exclusively on the RK brand and to embark on the next phase of my career," Krakoff told WWD. The designer's plans to leave the house in order to focus on developing his own brand, Reed Krakoff, founded in 2010, haven't exactly been frowned down upon. Two months after Krakoff's announcement of his leaving the brand, Coach announced his successor would be, Spanish-based fashion house, Loewe's former creative director, Stuart Vevers, who has cut his teeth at thriving accessories lines as well as notable ready-to-wear collections.
Marco Zanini - Rochas
Marco Zanini began his career as a first assistant to Domenico Dolce at Dolce & Gabbana in 1998, moving to Versace the following year to work directly with Donatella as head designer of womenswear, ready-to-wear and haute couture. The designer then worked for a year at the post of creative director at Halston from 2007 to 2008 when he left the house July, accepting an invitation in November to join Rochas as their creative director. Zanini has been at the helm for five years, and departs, as the result of a "mutual decision", according to the fashion house, replaced by Alessandro Dell'Acqua-who will continue to design for his own label No.21. Though the news that had been circling the rumor mill that Zanini would be leaving were proven true, the designer wasn't left long without work - a week after the confirmation of the appointment of Dell'Acqua, Zanini was named the new creative director of Schiaparelli. "My mission is to make the name of Schiaparelli resound in both the present and the future," Marco Zanini said today.
Nicola Formichetti - Thierry Mugler
Nicola Formichetti's departure from the Parisian luxury brand, Thierry Mugler, the brand he has helmed for just two years was announced April 2. A former stylist to Lady Gaga, his friend and creative collaborator, the designer announced that he "wants to do something different, more global." Joel Palix of Clarins Group said, "With his talent for communication and understanding modern imagery and design, Nicola has been instrumental in attracting a new audience which is undeniably crucial for the future strategy of the house. He will be a historical part of the Mugler legacy and known as the force that catapulted us forward." It didn't take long before Formichetti received a lucrative offer from Diesel and quickly accepted it. Diesel founder, Renzo Rosso made the following statement in a press release: "I finally met somebody as crazy as I am. Nicola shares my vision and I find it incredibly inspiring to work with him: two creative planets are colliding to generate fresh, mad, insane ideas. With his help, I want to break more rules and bring the real Diesel to a new generation." It looks like Nicola Formichetti found his calling, and who knows, there is still talk of him launching his own eponymous label.