GIORGIO ARMANI DENIES TALKS TO SUCCEED HUBERT GIVENCHY
Byline: Godfrey Deeny
PARIS — Rumors have been swirling around Paris that Giorgio Armani may replace Hubert de Givenchy when the couturier retires from the House of Givenchy this summer.
But Armani denies he’s held any talks with the Paris couture house. “It may be in the wind in Paris, but it certainly isn’t in the wind on the Via Borgonuova,” Armani said through a spokesman, when asked about the rumor. The designer insisted there had been “no contact” between himself and the House of Givenchy. Givenchy president Richard Simonin declined to confirm or deny the rumor. He also refused to comment on earlier reports that John Galliano had met Givenchy executives to discuss the possibility of becoming Givenchy’s new couturier. “I have got to say ‘no comment.’ It’s true, we have met with many people, but I have no intention of mentioning any names,” Simonin said. “Just a rumor” is how a Galliano spokesman characterized talk that the designer might succeed Givenchy.
Simonin did confirm that the House of Givenchy plans to continue doing couture after Hubert de Givenchy retires and has decided that whoever is chosen as couturier will also design the house’s luxury ready-to-wear collection. “Couture remains at the heart of Givenchy, and it’s important that the person who creates couture must also pour their creativity into the ready-to-wear. It makes sense,” Simonin explained. But he underlined that no announcement would come until after the forthcoming couture season, which begins Saturday and runs through Thursday, Jan. 26. “As you well know, the question of succession is a very delicate matter. We intend to be very discreet and professional. We will not announce our decision until after couture,” he said.
At present, three Italian designers present couture collections in Paris twice yearly: Valentino, Gianni Versace and Ginafranco Ferré at Christian Dior. One couturier here argued that Armani is well aware of the media interest that these three Italian rivals have generated by presenting couture in Paris, and would like to reap the same sort of attention.
“I understand he’s dying to have a crack at couture,” he said.
Fashion insiders here also note that LVMH president Bernard Arnault, whose conglomerate owns the houses of Givenchy, Dior and Christian Lacroix, has excellent relations with the Italian couturier Ferré in his stable, while his rapport with the French couturiers in the group, Lacroix and, especially, Givenchy, has frequently been troubled.