LONDON — Jewelry designer Theo Fennell will step down as creative director of his company next year, and cease to be involved in any operational management.
The British designer famous for his use of sorbet-colored gemstones and bejeweled cross, key and horn pendants, will not be replaced as creative director. A Fennell spokeswoman said Wednesday the company has a strong design team and it will remain in place.
Although Fennell will be stepping down from his official posts as creative director and a company director, he will continue in an "ambassadorial" role, and will consult on design. His current contract ends in 12 months, and the company said the board is discussing a new, long-term design contract with him.
"Design has always been the hub of my professional life and so it will remain," said Fennell on Wednesday. "However, there are a number of other design areas outside luxury goods with which I would like to become involved. Going forward, I hope to continue my relationship with the group, and yet have the flexibility to enter new creative arenas."
At the end of last year, former Burberry executive Pamela Harper joined Theo Fennell plc as chief executive and will continue in her operational role.
In a research statement Wednesday, Andrew Wade of Seymour Pierce said the business would continue as usual, and would not lose any of its association with Fennell. "He continues to own a significant part of the business, so should be strongly incentivised in his ambassadorial role," he said.
Founded in 1982 by Fennell, the label is popular among London celebrities including Elton John, Liz Hurley and David and Victoria Beckham. The business is listed on London's AIM exchange, although more than 70 percent is still owned by Fennell and his business partners.
The company has a flagship in South Kensington, not far from the Victoria & Albert Museum, and a store in the City of London's Royal Exchange. There are also shops-in-shops and wholesale clients worldwide in markets such as Hong Kong, Dubai, Barbados and the Maldives. Fennell also has a private client base in the U.S.
The company said business continues to be good; sales have increased 13 percent year-on-year in the post-Christmas season.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast