Relaunching a storied fashion label is a tricky business, and Vionnet has had its ups and downs since it was purchased by billionaire Goga Ashkenazi in 2012. In an unusual arrangement, Ashkenazi is not only the house's sole proprietor and chairman, but she's also the creative director — despite not being a designer by trade. Of course, she's hired a team of trained designers to execute her vision, and the latest addition to that team is an impressive one: Hussein Chalayan. He is joining Vionnet as a ready-to-wear designer, but will continue to produce his namesake line.
"Hussein will bring his unique approach into our creative debate, where we all will be organically integrating our views with the Vionnet aesthetic," said Ashkenazi, who also has plans to open the brand's first boutique in Paris this month. "My aim, in the long run, remains to create an authentic creative community around Vionnet: a collective of individual minds working in unison, adding new voices to the chorus as we go along. I am very thrilled of this perspective and strongly continuing to believe in it."
Lauded for his innovative, conceptual, sometimes otherworldly designs at his eponymous label, Chalayan has worked with Vionnet once before, on a "demi-couture" line that showed during both Paris Couture Weeks last year. His first collection in particular was a shock in that it was a huge departure for Vionnet, with what looked to be electrical wires and papers wrapped around the clothes. The second collection worked a little better — it was still inventive and technical, but also elegant.
It showed that Chalayan, despite being known for having a strong vision of his own, can work under another house's ideas. It will be interesting to see what they come up with together on the ready-to-wear level.
Homepage Photo: Vionnet Fall/Winter 2015 collection/Imaxtree