By  on September 26, 2011

PARIS — With the appointment of Andrew Heather, French luxury furrier Revillon is the latest brand to hire a behind-the-scenes design talent to take over its creative helm.

Heather, 40, has long played second fiddle at Givenchy. He joined the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned brand’s design team 13 years ago after being spotted by the house’s former creative director, Alexander McQueen. Heather most recently assisted Riccardo Tisci on Givenchy’s couture collections.

“It’s a big deal for me, as I was always behind-the-scenes, hidden. It was a classic case of turning 40 and taking a step back to reflect on [where things were going]. The Lee McQueen thing [his death in February 2010] was quite a kick, as it was a reminder that life can be brutally short,” said the designer in an interview with WWD at Revillon’s headquarters here Monday. “I think also there’s a lot to be said for the saying, ‘Quit while you’re ahead.’ What a ride, those last [Givenchy] couture collections were insanely beautiful,” mused Heather. “It was a combination of a lot of things, but one of them was, where am I going from here? Come on, jump.”

At Revillon, Heather fills the shoes of Peter Dundas, who left in 2009.

Since then, Revillon has delivered annual winter collections designed by an in-house team. Preceding Dundas, Rick Owens was credited with steering the staid furrier into cooler territory when he was hired for the job in 2003, introducing raw everyday furs cut on the bias that broke with the category’s dusty bourgeois connotations.

Heather’s debut collection for Revillon will be presented in March, during Paris Fashion Week. He is to show two collections a year.

Brand owner Yves Salomon plans to open a Revillon flagship on Paris’ Avenue Montaigne in May. Revillon is distributed in around 30 doors, mainly in Asia and the U.S.

Since arriving at the house in early September, Heather has been busy getting up to speed on the heritage of the brand, which dates back to 1723. He’s rooted through its archives and wallpapered his studio with vintage Revillon advertisements from the Twenties and the Seventies “to get the energy of the house, the moments of glory, the magic and the glamour of it all.”

“Until recently, I’ve always been scared of the word ‘glamour.’ It’s not very cool, but [on reflection] it’s actually quite fascinating. I looked up the word glamour and the archaic meaning was ‘enchanting,’ a kind of spell. I think that’s interesting. This is what we’ve been exploring. It’s early days, but this is the starting point,” said the designer, who studied fashion at London’s Royal College of Art. “I think there’s a way of making [the collections] glamorous but fresh with a really modern hand. It’s about how can we be really innovative with it in the way it’s put together, because I think there’s a lot of room to maneuver there.”

While seasoned in servicing the whims of wealthy couture clients (Heather started out as assistant to London-based couturier Bruce Oldfield), his aim is to design a wide collection mixing fur with other fabrics, like special wovens and leathers, to give a fresh edge and make it accessible to a wider range of people. The focus will be on fur accessories and outerwear, namely, coats, jackets and rainwear. Said Heather, “I hate the idea of doing 20 really full-on fur coats that only 20 people can afford in the world and that end up sitting in a press office or a cupboard. That’s not what it’s about.”

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