After five months of speculation — during which the media settled on Alexis Martial of Iceberg as the leading candidate — Carven announced Monday that both Martial, a ready-to-wear designer, and Adrien Caillaudaud, an accessories designer, have been appointed artistic directors of its womenswear division.
Martial, 29, got his career start at Givenchy in 2007, working on knitwear for both the ready-to-wear and haute couture lines; in 2012, he was named creative director of Paco Rabanne, before decamping to Iceberg for a parallel role less than a year later.
Caillaudaud and his career are less well known. According to a spokesperson for Carven, he and Martial met at the Atelier Chardon Savard fashion school in Paris, and his time overlapped with Martial's at Givenchy, where he worked on shoes and accessories. Prior to Givenchy, Caillaudaud was employed at Marc Jacobs.
It's unusual, of course, for a fashion label of any size to have two artistic directors at the creative lead — particularly two directors who are not (so far as we are aware) romantically linked, or who did not found the label together as friends and design partners. Clearly their talents — Martial in womenswear, Caillaudaud in accessories — are diverse and complimentary.
When asked why two, rather than one, artistic directors were appointed, Carven CEO Henri Sebaoun wrote by email: "When I first met with Alexis and Adrien and we shared our vision of women, fashion and Carven, I immediately knew they were the perfect match for Carven." So, it remains a bit of a mystery.
Carven will present during Paris Fashion Week on Thursday, and it will be considered the first collection from the duo; Caillaudaud has already started work at the label, and Martial officially starts today (Monday). Carven's previous artistic director, Guillaume Henry, will show his first collection for his new employer, Nina Ricci, on Saturday.
This story was updated with information about Martial and Caillaudaud's schooling, a correction on their starting dates and a comment from Carven CEO Henri Sebaoun.