The hot trend is low profile fashion designers | Bot To News


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Paris (AFP) The days of gigantic personalities like John Galliano, Jean-Paul Gaultier or Karl Lagerfeld who traveled the world of fashion are over. Today’s stars may still be extraordinary individuals, but it’s discretion that sells.

Balenciaga’s recent travails — over ads with hints of child abuse and its links to rapper Kanye West — have highlighted the risks of having a provocative figure.

Creative director Demna (who dropped his last name Gvasalia) has made Balenciaga the hottest brand of the moment, but his edgy approach and celebrity friends suddenly seem like a liability.

Many brands are moving away from the whole idea of ​​the great designer.

Louis Vuitton has yet to replace Virgil Abloh since his tragically untimely death last year, with the job now being handled by his studio.

Balenciaga's Demna has been in hot water for a controversial ad campaign and links to Kanye West
Balenciaga’s Demna has been in hot water for a controversial ad campaign and links to Kanye West © GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT / AFP/Archive

That will also be the case at Gucci until further notice, following the departure last month of flamboyant designer Alessandro Michele, whose revamp of the Italian brand was a huge success, until it wasn’t.

Other hot houses (Hermes, Chanel, Dior) are happy to go with designers who shy away from the limelight.

“The situations are different, but they reveal a trend: it’s the golden age of low profiles,” said Arnaud Cadart of asset management firm Flornoy Ferri.

interpreters

The change reflects the fact that many brands are already established and do not need a star.

“Brand identity is no longer about the designer. Designers are interpreters of brand identity,” added Julie El Ghouzzi of fashion consultancy Cultz.

When Lagerfeld passed away in 2019, his mantle passed to his right-hand man, who quietly continued his work.

Nadege Vanhee-Cybulski and Veronique Nichanian at Hermes, or Virginie Viard at Chanel, are little known outside the trade.

Virgil Abloh has not been replaced at Louis Vuitton since his death in 2021
Virgil Abloh has not been replaced at Louis Vuitton since his death in 2021 © Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP

Demna now seems like an outlier. The 41-year-old Georgian is listed in Time’s 100 most influential people and has a long-time muse in Kim Kardashian.

But he’s a constant provocateur: His $1,800 trash bags seemed especially inappropriate for a March show dedicated to Ukrainian refugees.

And her ties to Kanye, who appeared at Balenciaga’s September show in Paris, are damaging, even if Demna moved quickly to cut ties after the rapper’s recent anti-Semitic outbursts.

“It’s hard to imagine this not breaking the momentum of the brand, which was going really strong,” Cadart said.

‘A Little Madness’

The beginning of the end for big-name designers is often traced back to Galliano’s 2011 departure from Dior after he was filmed going on his own anti-Semitic rant in a restaurant.

“The bigger the houses, the more luxury becomes a mass market. Now they are looking for more discreet art directors,” said Benjamin Simmenauer, a professor at the French Fashion Institute.

It’s a delicate balance.

Michele’s unconventional, baroque shows for Gucci drew attention, but not as many sales.

“The markets want Gucci to sell black bags and not pink frills all over the place that normal people wouldn’t dare wear,” Cadart said.

But that kind of safe approach — the so-called “timeless” — would end up hurting Gucci, which has always had transgressions in its DNA.

“The risk is that people get bored. Fashion is supposed to entertain and ask questions,” Simmenauer said.

“You need some seduction, a little madness.”



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