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Posts tagged as Alessandro Michele

‘He had complete control’: Why Karl Lagerfeld was the exception to fashion’s new rules

With the passing of Karl Lagerfeld, the world of fashion lost one of its most indelible personalities.
In many ways, Lagerfeld shaped the brands he worked with, rather than the other way around.Today, a brands business objectives often stand in the way of a creatives vision.Lagerfeld’s room-filling personality was the subject of many retrospectives and obituaries when the news of his death broke Tuesday morning.He was notorious for his ease in front of the camera and how frequently he gave media appearances. For decades, the man Karl Lagerfeld was inextricable from the brands, like Chanel and Fendi, that he fronted.His personal aesthetic was a major factor in what the actual brand looked like. Womens Wear Daily noted that Karl Lagerfeld either personally saw to or supervised nearly everything himself, rarely delegating any aspect of Chanels operations, even personally proofreading press releases.But the era of the fashion designer as ultra-celebrity and driving force of the brand is ending, said some industry insiders.People often complained that Chanel was too much the same each year or that it was missing out on the zeitgeist, said Stefan Siegel, CEO of fashion platform Not Just A Label.But that sort of complete control, working every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.completely hands-on, thats what Karl brought to the brand. He was one of the last designers like that we will ever see.I think it will become more like music. I saw the new Freddie Mercury film, and I think someone like him will never happen again.Instead of a few mega stars, you have many, many artists with smaller but more dedicated followings. I think fashion is going the same way.There are a number of major designers who still have some form of star power. Alessandro Michele at Gucci, Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton and Hedi Slimane at Celine are just a few examples of designers who have shaped brands around their personal aesthetics.Still, the role that a designer plays particularly how their personal aesthetic plays into the brand is changing, according to some industry insiders.I think were at a fork in the road, said fashion writer Christina Binkley.We have brands like Celine who went from one big-name designer to another and completely changed the brand. Hedi Slimane completely rebuilt [Celine] into his own image.It went well for him when he did the same thing at Saint Laurent, and it seems like its going well at Celine now. Then we have brands where the designers come and go, but the brands largely stay the same.
While Slimane completely changed the brand, other designers have been less successful. Binkley pointed to Raf Simons’ stint at Calvin Klein  the overall look of the brand remained mostly unchanged throughout his tenure there and after.Simons departure was attributed to differing creative visions, according to Calvin Klein. After he left, the brands first campaign without him was highly reminiscent of the brands traditional aestheticsThis shift ultimately comes down to the relationship between the artistic and business sides of a fashion brand.
Where once the designer was the ultimate arbiter of what a fashion brand’s identity was, now the business side typically plays that role.Its easy to forget [how things work].We get so excited about designer shifts, but not about CEO shifts, Binkley said. Most people could not name the CEOs of the big brands, but youd be hard-pressed to find a truly wildly successful brand now that isnt a partnership of the designer and the CEO.
Gucci is a great example of that. Alessandro is extraordinary, but I don’t think there’s a whiff of a chance of that success without Marco Bizzarri making sure things were going well.Chanels CEO Alain Wertheimer allegedly told Lagerfeld that he did not like what Chanel was and handed Lagerfeld complete creative control over shaping the brand when he joined 30 years ago. “They allowed me to have a contract to do what I want, where and when I want,” Lagerfeld reportedly said.The era when the designer was in complete control of a brand’s aesthetics seems to be coming to an end. Lagerfeld’s outsize personality and exacting control over every visual detail of the brand may have been the last and most notable example of this specific type of designer-controlled environment.As fashion brands evolve into massive commercial juggernauts, the dominance of the business side will likely continue, according to Siegel.MORE FROM GLOSSY ON FASHIONVrai and Oro’s Vanessa Stofenmacher: ‘Modern luxury is much more inclusive’FEB 20, 2019‘It’s a re-unveiling of the brand’: Modcloth enters period of rapid retail expansion FEB 15, 2019’We were first’: Faced with new competition, eBay wants to remind the sneakerhead industry of its rootsFEB 15, 2019‘I’ve seen people cry’: A NYFW security guard on 24 years of fending off crashers FEB 14, 2019Get news and analysis about fashion, luxury and technology delivered to your inbox every morning 2019 Digiday Media. All rights reserved.
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