PARIS PLAYS GUESSING GAME ON SUCCESSOR TO GIVENCHY

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PARIS — Rumors are still running rampant about who will be the new couturier at Givenchy.
Some see John Galliano as a shoo-in for the job, while others insist Jean-Paul Gaultier is a good bet. Some even believe that Hubert de Givenchy, who is scheduled to resign after the July couture season, will stay on.
Givenchy president Richard Simonin has declined to comment on who might succeed Hubert de Givenchy, but in a recent discussion of his decision to temporarily discontinue distribution of the Boutiques Givenchy diffusion line in the U.S., Simonin implied that a new designer may have already been chosen.
“What’s most important for us in the U.S. strategically is to focus on the luxury rtw collection, especially with the arrival of a new designer,” Simonin said. When pressed as to whether this meant that someone had actually been selected to take over for Givenchy, Simonin replied: “Probably.”
Late last month, Simonin also indicated that no matter who is chosen, the house may not reveal the name of the successor until after Givenchy has officially retired. “That would probably be the more correct way to handle this matter,” he said.
Several fashion insiders here insist Gaultier is a strong candidate for the Givenchy job. However, Gaultier president Donald Potard claimed that the designer was not interested in succeeding Givenchy. “Besides, we have not been contacted by anyone at the House of Givenchy,” said Potard, when asked about the rumor.
Robert Ferrell, Galliano’s commercial manager, declined to discuss whether the designer had reached an agreement with Givenchy. “We have no announcement. There’s nothing to say,” Ferrell said.
Other names rumored for the position have been Giorgio Armani, Balenciaga designer Josephus Melchior Thimister and Stephane Rolland.