LONDON — British brand J&M Davidson has named Katie Hillier creative director, with her first collection set for fall 2019, WWD has learned. Hillier will be part of a new creative collective at the brand, which has traditionally been known for its leather accessories and is owned by the Japanese luxury group Yagi Tsusho.
Hillier’s first collection will be a full product range that includes ready-to-wear and accessories, and her appointment forms part of a strategic growth plan led by Shingo Takahashi, chief executive officer of J&M Davidson. The brand is repositioning itself in the accessible luxury sector, with an emphasis on craftsmanship, fabrication and process, as well as design.
Hillier’s first collection has a laid-back, soft, bohemian feel, with lots of bright color, colorblocking, exotic skins and embellishments such as fringing.
Yagi Tsusho acquired J&M Davidson in March 2013, with the brand’s founders John and Monique Davidson exiting in early 2018. The new owners have also assembled a team of collaborators, including the artist Jeff West, art director Jamie Reed, the product and space designer Tina Vaia, and a young design team based in London.
The new team will work with Hillier, who will continue to pursue her various consultancies and to design the Hillier Bartley rtw collection, which she founded with Luella Bartley in 2015.
West has made wooden pieces for the showroom that will also be installed in stores as part of a design update later this year. Artists and art photographers will be collaborating on products and brand projects. J&M Davidson has flagship boutiques on London’s Mount Street and in Tokyo’s Aoyama district and sells through multibrand retailers in Europe and Asia.
“We are very proud to announce the appointment of Katie Hillier to the brand,” said Takahashi. “We see great potential in the market, and look forward to a new chapter in the creative life of the brand, some incredible product offerings, brand communications and strategic partnerships.”
Hillier is a well-known jewelry and accessories designer who also has a long history with the Marc Jacobs brand. She was creative director of Marc by Marc Jacobs, while her friend Luella Bartley served as women’s design director of the brand.
Hillier designed successful handbag collections for Asprey in 2012 and 2013, including 38 one-of-a-kind, ultraluxe models that quickly sold out. The color-blocked bags were done in exotic skins or embellished with semiprecious stones.