"I can't thank Christopher enough for the unequivocal support, energy and passion he invested in Nicholas Kirkwood Ltd. over the last 10 years," Kirkwood in an official statement to WWD, which released the news. "It has been an incredible journey. I wish him all the success he deserves for his future endeavors."
The two met in 2005 at the accessories trade show Première Classe in Paris. Under their joint stewardship, the statement shoe brand has grown considerably over the past decade — from a Harrods account in its second season to flagship boutiques in New York, Las Vegas and London. In 2013, Kirkwood expanded into men's shoes and won the BFC/Vogue Fashion Fund award. That same year, LVMH acquired a majority stake in the company, giving Kirkwood and Suarez the resources to expand its staff as well as its global presence with standalone stores in Paris and Beijing. In past interviews, Kirkwood had expressed his desire to launch a handbag range, but a spokesperson for the label confirmed that jewelry will be next.
Suarez's exit has been in the books for some time, according to WWD. At the time of the LVMH acquisition, Suarez reportedly agreed to continue his CEO role for only two more years. And yet, in that time, LVMH has been unable to find a replacement. For now, Suarez's position will be overseen by Sophie Brocart, LVMH Fashion Group's senior vice president of fashion ventures.
Suarez's future successor will have big shoes to fill. In a recent interview with Business of Fashion, Kirkwood said his best advice for young designers is to find the right business partner. "Don't start up alone," he said. "You need a partner in crime: someone who will invest the same blood, sweat and tears as you; a sounding board for ideas; someone you can implicitly trust. This is more than simply an employee."
A rep for Nicholas Kirkwood declined to comment on Suarez's next move.