Eight months after Nicola Formichetti parted ways with Clarins-owned Thierry Mugler, a replacement has been announced. It's buzzy London-based designer David Koma.
Despite being from Georgia, Koma is a bona fide It Brit with a Central Saint Martins degree and a futuristic-sexy aesthetic that is very much in line with Mugler's heritage. He's dressed several celebrities, including Beyoncé, who famously wore Thierry Mugler for her I Am world tour. Perhaps a similar partnership will emerge with Koma at the helm when she takes her new album on the road. Lady Gaga's high-profile relationship with the brand probably left with Formichetti, though. His affinity for celebrity dressing is worth noting, however -- much of Formichetti's success at Mugler involved bringing the brand to the forefront of pop culture, which he did well.
In terms of sales, however, fragrance was always the cash cow. But it sounds like Clarins execs plan to focus more on ready-to-wear once Koma takes the reins in 2014. Virginie Courtin-Clarins, director of development, marketing and communications at Mugler Fashion, told WWD she wants to put the brand "back on the map in the fashion business" and "modernize it." She added that the clothes will be “wearable and desirable,” which could not always be said of Formichetti's designs, if we're being honest -- though his last collection was a bit of an exception.
The news follows other internal shuffling at the company. Sébastien Peigné and Romain Kremer, Thierry Mugler head designers for women’s and men’s wear, respectively, left (in addition to Formichetti). And the role of the label's founder, Thierry Mugler, was expanded to "creative advisor"-- though his responsibilities aren't very clear. In the WWD article, he's described as a "consultant." Later this year, Joël Palix, longtime president of the Groupe Clarins fragrance division, left the company and Sandrine Groslier became chief executive officer of Thierry Mugler fragrances and fashion.