It might be plush, tufted throne fit for a queen or a luxe stool propped up by a gilded legs. But regardless of the seat style, fashion designers are always involved in this never-ending game of musical chairs. And in recent years, a combination of creative differences, commercial pressures and heavy workloads has led to this ongoing merry-go-round of creative director hirings and firings.
The dramatic shake-up of brands keeps us on our toes — it means we get to see the key style codes and symbols of each brand reinterpreted — but, it can also get very confusing. So below, we've compiled a list of some of the most buzzed-about labels that have welcomed a new creative director over the last few seasons. This way, while you're eyeing all the Fall 2018 collections, you'll know exactly which sartorial icon to thank for introducing us to the latest iteration of Crocs.
In 2015, Demna Gvasalia was named Alexander Wang's replacement as the creative director of Balenciaga. The Georgian designer, who also heads up the not-so-underground cult collective Vetements, continually wows our fancy-hoodie-driven generation with his master ability to marry his anti-fashion streetwear aesthetic with the French label's luxury roots. Gvasalia debuted his revolutionized Balenciaga vision for Fall 2016.
After 17 years with Burberry, Christopher Bailey announced that he will leave Britain's iconic heritage brand in March 2018. Mr. Bailey was credited with transforming the tired outerwear brand into a global fashion powerhouse, with his acute awareness of consumers' changing shopping demands in the digital age; under Bailey's lead, Burberry was the first luxury brand to adopt the "see now, buy now" delivery model. Burberry has yet to reveal his successor.
Following a three-year stint as creative director at Dior, Raf Simons was named chief creative officer at Calvin Klein in the summer of 2016. The Belgian-born designer was tasked with reshaping the stagnant U.S. brand, and with only a few collections under his belt, there's no denying that he's taken the label's once-minimalist offerings and given them a bold, revamped, all-American appeal.
Phoebe Philo will present her final Fall 2018 collection for Céline in March. Following her departure, Hedi Slimane will officially take over and join the French fashion house as its new artistic, creative and image director. Slimane's love of toothpick skinny jeans and sequins may not cater to the fans of Philo's minimalist workwear, but LVMH has big commercial ambitions for the French label and Slimane has proven himself to be one of the most commercially bankable designers in the industry.
Natacha Ramsay-Levi, who previously served as the senior director and right-hand woman to Nicolas Ghesquière at Louis Vuitton, became the creative director at Chloé last year after Clare Waight Keller left to head up Givenchy. In September, Ramsay-Levi proved that she could add her own spin to Chloé's well-approved Bohemian aesthetic with her debut collection. Now, the newly minted artistic head will further cement her renewed vision for Chloé in her second installment for the French label, set to hit the runway next month.
Karl Lagerfeld's still kicking!
Diane von Furstenburg
Despite receiving praise for his collections, Jonathan Saunders resigned from his chief creative officer role at Diane von Furstenberg in December after only three seasons with the New York-based fashion house. A few weeks later, DVF named Nathan Jenden — who previously served as the brand's creative director before leaving to focus on his own label in 2011 — as chief design officer and vice president, creative.
After Raf Simons decided to leave the floral-filled sets at Dior in 2015, the French fashion house tapped its first-ever female creative lead — Valentino's Maria Grazia Chiuri — to fill his critically-acclaimed shoes. In her time at Dior, Chiuri has created collection with a pro-female, millennial flair to mixed reviews.
At the beginning of 2017, Riccardo Tisci left his role at Givenchy after 12 years. In a surprise move, Clare Waight Keller, the former artistic director of Chloé, took his place and made her Givenchy debut for Spring 2018. Unlike Tisci who rarely referenced the French label's archives, Waight Keller looked to its original sketches and silhouettes to inspire her designs for the house.
Frida Giannini, the former head of accessories, became the creative director at Gucci in 2005, but when she left, a virtually unknown designer stepped up to the plate: Alessandro Michele replaced Giannini in 2015 and has since transformed the decades-old Italian brand into a sartorial sensation.
In a widely rumored move, Rodolfo Paglialunga exited Jil Sander last March after spending just three years as creative director at the minimalist label. Husband-and-wife duo Luke and Lucie Meier were hired to replace Mr. Paglialunga in April as co-creative directors. For their first collection in September, the designers concentrated on reworking the Sander-signature white shirt.
Kate Spade New York
Deborah Lloyd left Kate Spade New York shortly after the brand was bought by Tapestry Inc. having devoted almost a decade to the label. Lloyd was immediately replaced by Nicola Glass, who had previously served as the senior vice president of accessories design at Michael Kors.
After just 16 months as Lanvin's creative director, Bouchra Jarrar left the ailing French fashion house amid slumping sales and internal discord within the company. Olivier Lapidus was then hired to revamp the brand and turn it into the French version of Michael Kors. However, his first collection, shown in September at Paris Fashion Week, wasn't exactly an overnight hit.
John Targon, the co-founder and creative director of Baja East, joined the Marc Jacobs design team as the creative director of contemporary earlier this month. Marc Jacobs will still design the house's ready-to-wear label, despite industry whisperings that he soon may relinquish his day-to-day design role or exit his namesake brand altogether.
At the end of 2017, Mugler announced that its artistic director David Koma would depart after only four years at the French label. His replacement, Casey Cadwallader, was simultaneously announced. Cadwallader has held top positions in womenswear at Loewe, Narciso Rodriguez and most recently, Acne Studios.
Oscar de la Renta
Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia — the design duo behind buzzy label Monse — were appointed as co-creative directors at Oscar de la Renta in fall of 2016, replacing Peter Copping, who left the company after less than two years. Kim and Garcia had a tight past with Oscar de la Renta: Kim joined the label in 2003, and left as design director, while Garcia joined in 2009 and left as a senior designer; both had exited their roles at the brand to start Monse in 2015. For the last two seasons, Kim and Garcia have designed for Monse as well as Oscar de la Renta; their first collections for Oscar de la Renta have not disappointed.
Six months after Roberto Cavalli first announced that Peter Dundas was scheduled to depart his post as creative director in October 2016, and after just three seasons, the Milan-based fashion house gave English designer Paul Surridge the top design gig. Surridge wasn't the most obvious candidate for the job given that his career has had a strong focus in menswear, but his offerings for the house were revealed in September and met with positive reviews.
Just 11 months into his role as design director for womenswear, Fulvio Rigoni left Salvatore Ferragamo after his shows were met with unenthusiastic reviews. Paul Andrew, formerly the Italian group's design director for women's footwear, is now creative director for women's accessories and ready-to-wear. His will debut his first collection for Fall 2018.
Hedi Slimane parted ways with Saint Laurent in March of 2016 after four years with the brand. Kering quickly hired Anthony Vaccarello in his place, who had been the creative director at Versus Versace for a little over a year. Since taking the reins, Vaccarello has forged his own sequined path and staged a memorable runway spectacle in front of the twinkling Eiffel Tower.
Maria Grazia Chiuri's departure from Valentino marked the end of an era; she had worked with Pierpaolo Piccioli at the brand for 17 years, first as accessories designers and then as co-creative directors. Chiuri left the house in 2016 to head up Dior, which made Piccioli as Valentino's sole artistic director.