Since Kering announced the departure of both Creative Director Frida Giannini and CEO Patrizio di Marco from Gucci last week, rumors have been flying around the industry as to who will take over as creative head of the conglomerate's largest luxury house. Kering has already appointed Marco Bizzari, CEO of its couture and leather goods division, as di Marco's replacement.
Rumors about a change of leadership started last spring, when speculation broke that Giannini might be leaving Gucci. Now that her exit is official, seemingly everyone has been throwing their hats in the ring with their predictions. Let's take a look a the names on the fashion media's short list.
WWD reports that the Givenchy designer has been approached for the position, but the consensus among several sources, including Style.com's Nicole Phelps, Page Six and WWD's Bridget Foley, is that his contract with LVMH will make a move nearly impossible right now. Tisci would be a very buzzworthy appointment, especially considering his crew of celebrity friends and his success at reinvigorating the LVMH brand during his time (almost a decade) as its creative director. Vanessa Friedman says a move is not impossible, especially considering the rivalry between the conglomerates (LVMH poached Nicolas Ghesquière for Louis Vuitton last year).
Despite a couple of bumpy first years after he joined Saint Laurent in 2012, Slimane has built a cult following by invigorating the brand with a rock 'n roll cool factor that has translated into major sales. Page Six, who broke the story of Giannini and di Marco's departure, reports that he is at the very top of a short list, and Bridget Foley agrees he would be a "fascinating" choice.
New York-based designer Altuzarra's eponymous label is only six years old, but as the winner of this year's Womenswear Designer of the Year at the CFDA Awards, he has more than proven himself worthy — at only 31 years old, no less. When Kering invested in his label earlier this year, rumors began that the company was grooming him to take over Gucci. Style.com's Phelps thinks his lack of accessories experience stacks the odds against his appointment and Friedman makes the same point about his lack of menswear experience. But at a time when Gucci is in need of a youthful shot of energy, Altuzarra would certainly be a newsworthy choice. Plus, he would know how to design sexy, elegant clothes without struggling under Tom Ford's legacy, as WWD's Foley writes.
Kering has also invested in the Scottish designer's line, and he was rumored to be on the short list to take the creative lead at Balenciaga before Alexander Wang was hired. WWD's Foley thinks he is just as inexperienced as Altuzarra, but less sophisticated.
A Woman. Any Woman.
Not many female designers have been named in the rumor mill. Style.com's Phelps suggested Mansur Gavriel’s Rachel Mansur and Floriana Gavriel for their excellence in accessories and likens their lack of ready-to-wear experience to Giannini's nine years ago when she was promoted to the top position at Gucci. She also suggested Tabitha Simmons as another well-connected, interesting candidate.
The designer just left Hermes to focus on his own line, and though he's less well-known than the other names at the top of this list, he was successful at energizing sales for the French brand and could do the same for Gucci.
So, as you wrap your head around all of the industry chatter, who do you think should lead Gucci into its next chapter? Let us know in the comments.