To Gucci, or not to Gucci?There is much change in store for the fashion world in 2018, and still so many questions: Burberry and Céline are on the hunt for new creative chiefs, and it's still unclear whether Kim Jones will leave Louis Vuitton to join Versace. Sources speculate that Hedi Slimane could take the top job at Dior, but only if he can control 100 percent of the product, including beauty and fragrance.Pucci, Moncler and Courrèges are all still designer-less, while the fate of maison Alaïaremains unclear following the designer’s death in November. The brand's next ready-to-wear and accessories collections will be presented in January and March, although the question marks continue to hover. Does the house of Alaïa even need a new designer, or can it streak ahead on the powerful engines of its archives?There is one overarching question, though, that luxury group principals will increasingly be asking themselves in the year ahead, and that's the Gucci one: Can they — or should they — replicate the power couple magic of Marco Bizzarri, the brand's chief executive officer, and Alessandro Michele, its creative director?“It’s all about couples,” said Davide Dallomo, founder and president of the creative talent and management agency Lagente. “It is really important nowadays to have a creative director who is practical, and a ceo who is creative.”Given Gucci's skyrocketing growth over the last few years, financial analysts would argue the same (some say that professional threesomes work even better, with the addition of a chief merchant to the mix) in a moment when the market is flooded with merch and populated by shrewd consumers.“There was a time when supply was low, you could be a creative director in your ivory tower, invent something and enjoy great success. You thought this was because you were a genius. Maybe,” said Exane BNP Paribas in an October report called “The Strategic Perspective on Luxury Goods.”“In a crowded market and a faster innovation environment, there is a smaller space for isolated genius and top-down dictators. Genius has to be nurtured by market intelligence and empowered by execution. The creative director, the chief merchandising officer and the ceo have to be on the same page and work toward the same goal.”That's one reason why rumors have been churning for so long about Phoebe Philo going to Burberry, where Marco Gobbetti has just taken up the role of ceo. Philo and Gobbetti have already proven themselves a powerful team, having catapulted Céline's sales to nearly a billion euros when Gobbetti was ceo and Philo creative chief of the buzzy brand.Despite the ongoing speculation, however, it's unclear whether that dream will come true since sources have said that Philo has no intention of jumping to Burberry.Mary Gallagher, European associate for New York-based search firm Martens & Heads, said of the Gobbetti/Philo team that the combination of “an extremely strong ceo and an extremely creative and powerful female designer was just an incredible match. The kind of match that in future years will be benchmarked, in the way people talk today about Tom Ford and [former president and ceo of Gucci Group] Domenico De Sole.”The idea of the powerhouse fashion couple isn’t a new one; it just fell out of fashion for a while when a generation of lone-wolf designers took over at some of the big houses. Imitating Gucci’s strategies isn’t a new concept, either. In the Nineties, when dusty old Gucci was owned by Investcorp, Dawn Mello, Ford and later, De Sole were so successful in reviving the house that other heritage brands — like Burberry — aspired to “do a Gucci” and reclaim their cool.While the new Gucci may be going from strength to strength — third-quarter sales were up 49.4 percent versus analysts' estimates of 30 percent — not every company is going to have the opportunity or the guts to test the latest power couple template.Bizzarri, already a star at Kering, gambled on the relatively unknown Michele, a Gucci veteran and the accessories designer under former creative director Frida Giannini. His discovery of such a star designer already in-house has spurred other brands to look inward, too.Principals at LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton are said to be interviewing "number-two" designers at a wide swath of fashion houses for the Céline job, and sources believe Michael Rider, who's been working closely with Philo as design director rtw at Céline, is a strong candidate.Yet one headhunter, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said LVMH “is very rarely tempted by a number-two designer,” preferring a splashy name instead, which some would argue is a shame. Another headhunter said that if LVMH were to choose Rider, “Céline would continue with the DNA of Phoebe,” but with no frisson or freshness.It’s not just the hot ceo/creative combination that’s going to make or break a brand: Principals also have to think about creating a team that can set social media on fire, appeal to Millennials and remain authentic to a brand’s DNA. Then, of course, there's the challenge of China, a market that needs to be handled with care.According to a Bernstein report from November, brands are still seeing diverging momentum in Greater China and the trend is set to continue into 2018.“For soft luxury, Gucci, LV, YSL, Moncler, Balenciaga and Fendi continue to power ahead; Hermès, Chanel, Ferragamo and Prada are flattish while Céline, Givenchy, Burberry and BV are sluggish,” the report said, adding that the winners will be leather goods companies that “innovate and introduce entry price products to gain an edge with Chinese consumers.”Gucci has already dropped the price of some of its footwear, with certain styles now costing less than comparative styles from competitors such as Miu Miu, Prada and Dolce & Gabbana, proof that the Italian brand is blazing a trail into the future — once again.
EXCLUSIVE: Two and half months after John Targon, cofounder and codesigner of Baja East, was hired as creative director of the contemporary division at Marc Jacobs, he has left the company, WWD has learned. Marc Jacobs International, which is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, confirmed Targon’s departure in a statement: “John Targon is a talented designer and we appreciate the work he has done here. Ultimately working together did not make sense for the brand and we wish him the best.” Read the story by @jessiredale, link in bio. #wwdnews
@theluxurycollection is officially launching a collection, tapping Sofia Sanchez de Betak for the capsule. Over 30 styles will be featured in the Chufy x The Luxury Collection, debuting next month at Bergdorf Goodman, The Webster, FiveStory and more. De Betak, known as “@chufy,” drew inspiration for the collection from her trips to Japan in the past year #wwdfashion
@lhd, founder and CEO of @thewebster, has teamed up with @lebonmarcherivegauche for the European launch of her ready-to-wear line, LHD. The launch will come with an exclusive pop-up opening today that’s set to run through May 20. Located on the second floor, it carries her debut Miami-themed resort collection, launched in November as see-now-buy-now. #wwdfashion
@longchamp, which marks its 70th anniversary this year, just opened its biggest U.S. store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. On the lower level there’s a floor-to-ceiling display of the brand’s iconic Le Pliage bag – in all of its different colors, shapes and sizes. Customers can also have their product personalized in-store by imprinting names, initials or emblems. #wwdfashion (📷: @ericmtownsend)
“Whenever I’m in that place of sound and music, I don’t have fear or nervousness…This album has a lot of themes of courage and boldness and I want to be the soundtrack for people’s lives. I’ll be so happy if [my songs] evoke strength in people, which I know music has done for me,” says @kimbramusic of her newest album “Primal Heart.” The New Zealand-born singer sat down with WWD to talk about her music, newest tour and connecting with hear fans — read more on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
Luxury handbag resale company @rebagofficial is planning to sell a rare collectible for $70,000: the @hermes White Crocodile Himalayan Birkin. The exclusive Birkin sold for about $100,000 in 2008, when @davidbeckham bought one for his wife @victoriabeckham to add to her collection. Read more about the rare Birkin on WWD.com #wwdaccessories
With her costume pearl necklace and what-you-see-is-what-you-get style, Barbara Bush, who died Tuesday at age 92, was a straight-shooter from start to finish.
Born Barbara Pierce in New York City, Bush served as the 37th first lady, as well as the country’s second lady from 1981 to 1989. In addition to being part of the longest presidential marriage — 73 years — Bush also had the unlikely distinction of having one son, George W., become the 43rd president and another son, Jeb, run unsuccessfully in 2016. Having served as second lady during the Reagan administration’s two terms and lived all over the world during her own husband’s ascending political career, Barbara Bush made it clear that literacy — not fashion — was her priority. Read more from Rosemary Feitelberg’s obituary on the late First Lady in WWD.com, link in bio. #barbarabush #wwdnews
Western and ’90s trends have influenced denim for fall 2018. Think raw, dark and coated jeans mixed with bold prints and tough leather. #trendtuesdays #wwdfashion (Styled by @thealexbadia;📷: @ryanplett)