The fashion world has been turned upside down in recent weeks, with high profile departures taking place at some of the most revered French houses. When Americans Marc Jacobs and Alexander Wang handed over the reigns at Parisian brands Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga respectively, the moves raised several impeccably groomed eyebrows. This week’s news however, has rocked the world of fashion in a more profound way.
Raf Simons, the Creative Director at Christian Dior announced his resignation earlier this week, in a suprise move that stunned the industry. Mr. Simons had spent only 3 1/2 years at the house, yet was a driving force in reviving the venerable brand which he took over after the very controvesal departure of John Galliano.
Yesterday, Alber Elbaz, the longtime creative chief at Lanvin, announced his departure, apparently pushed out after a disagreement with the current owners.
When people of this calibre from labels this important are forced out, it is time to re-evaluate the role creativity plays in fashion.
In fashion, the creative team is often manipulated by the money people, who restrict the ability of the designer to move the product forward. Playing it safe often trumps great ideas, and the bean counter who looks at the past gets a bigger say in the outcome than the visionary who is looking at the future. Nobody is right until the customer votes by buying the product at full price. A quick glimpse at the sales and discount emails flooding my inbox tells me that isn’t happening. The art of fashion has been replaced by the art of the deal. Meetings take place to outline promotional strategies, not creative ones. Have we finally reached a breaking point?
As the fashion world undergoes a change at the highest levels, how will this trickle down to the high street brands? Will we finally begin to celebrate innovation over moderation, or is this the end of great fashion as we once knew it? Does the public care? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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