NEW YORK — Yvan Mispelaere, Diane von Furstenberg’s next creative director, has a grasp of the DNA behind the label he will joining on April 1.
This story first appeared in the February 5, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
It consists of “the kind of special, extraordinary life she had, the many people she met, the many experiences she had and still has,” he said in an interview on Thursday. “I know what she is representing, as a living icon.
“I am very inspired in what we may call the DNA of the brand, this feminine, free-minded, easy glamour,” Mispelaere said. “I love prints, I love color, that kind of cool way of being, of ease. I like the way she is representing a woman with a lot of curiosity and a lot of culture, who has been connected to many artists over the years.”
Mispelaere will succeed Nathan Jenden, who is leaving to focus on his own, namesake line.
Von Furstenberg called Mispelaere last October, and a meeting in New York followed. “I totally fell in love with her, and I think she appreciated me as well,” he said.
Mispelaere, Gucci’s women’s ready-to-wear design director, is working on the Italian brand’s fall collection. Before Gucci, Mispelaere, 42, worked at Chloé as design director with Phoebe Philo, and led the design team for a short stint after Philo exited.
He started his career in the mid-Nineties working for Claude Montana on Lanvin’s haute couture collection, before moving to Rome to join Valentino, where Mispelaere worked closely with the designer on the couture and ready-to-wear lines and licenses. He left after five years to become head designer for Prada’s women’s collection before joining Louis Feraud as artistic director. He had a short-lived stint designing his own collection before joining Chloé.
With the new gig at DVF, Mispelaere will set up a home in New York.
“I think as DVF has become bigger and more important over the last 10 years, there are some expectations to take it a step further,” he said. “I am ready for that. She has got such great energy, and I am doing the move strongly for that.”
Von Furstenberg called the hire “a new era.” She added, “His experience will be very helpful to us. He will lead the design team of very talented young designers.”