Another year, another round of designers expected to make their debuts as creative directors at different fashion houses over the next few months.
Fashion week might not look the same as it once did, but The Brands continue to find inventive ways to present their collections — and unveil a new vision. We're keeping track of all the creative director changes announced in 2021. Catch up on all the switch-ups, below:
In February, Alaïa announced that Pieter Mulier — best known for his work with Raf Simons at his namesake line, Jil Sander, Christian Dior (which earned him a supporting role in the documentary "Dior and I") and Calvin Klein — would join the fashion house as creative director. Since founder Azzedine Alaïa's passing in 2017, its collections have been designed by a team based on its archives.
"Through the creative prodigy and tenacious dedication of our dear founder Azzedine Alaïa, our Maison has been defined by a powerful vision of femininity and sensuality, which will forever set us apart," CEO Myriam Serrano said, in a statement. "Pieter stands out with remarkable technical talent and devotion to the craft, a sharp eye for construction and a sense of timeless beauty that is deeply ingrained in the creative approach of our Maison. He combines these qualities with keen intellect, true generosity and unwavering humanity, which fills me with the greatest confidence in his creative leadership and innovative powers. His appointment marks the opening of an important new chapter for our Maison as we jointly seek to carry the foundational values and distinctive style of Alaïa into the future."
Of his predecessor and new role, Mulier said: "Always ahead of his time and open to all arts and cultures, Azzedine Alaïa's powerful vision has served as an inspiration, as he always sought to give the necessary time to innovative and enduring creation. It is with this tremendous sense of admiration and responsibility that I will seek to carry forward his legacy of celebrating femininity and placing women at the heart of creation. I look forward to meeting the valued Alaïa clients and friends as well as the Alaïa Foundation, and to jointly shaping the future of this legendary Maison."
Mulier's first collection for the house will be Spring 2022.
In April, WWD reported that Berluti would part ways with both creative director Kris Van Assche and the traditional fashion calendar. Instead, it would adopt "a new approach to the collection calendar, choosing its own path for presenting its exceptional products, including collaborative projects and pieces," the brand told the publication, and would also not name a successor for Van Assche.
Just four days after Chloé revealed that Natacha Ramsay-Levi would be stepping down as creative director (a role she held for four years), the French fashion house named her successor: Gabriela Hearst.
"I have always admired her vibrant creative energy and exquisite sense of quality and craft. Her powerful vision of more responsible fashion truly embodies the values and sense of commitment of today's Chloé women," CEO Riccardo Bellini said of the Uruguayan-born designer, in a statement. "Gabriela is a forward-thinking woman and her creative leadership will be a positive force in further evolving and expanding our founder's original vision of meaningful and powerful femininity. Together, we share the conviction that we all have a responsibility to actively participate in the shaping of a sustainable future and look forward to jointly pushing Chloé to new heights."
Meanwhile, Hearst (who will continue to run her namesake label while also designing Chloé) said: "I am grateful for an opportunity at such a beloved brand as Chloé. I am thankful to Natacha Ramsay-Levi and all the other extraordinary designers that have come before her and helped build on the purposeful vision of Gaby Aghion. I am excited for the opportunity to work under the leadership of Riccardo Bellini and support him in his commitment to create a business that is socially conscious and in balance with our environment. I am also humbled to be able to work with the Chloé team to help execute this beautiful vision in creative and accountable ways."
Hearst's first collection for the house will debut in March 2021.
After being named as Karl Lagerfeld's successor at Fendi in September 2020, Kim Jones presented his first collection for the house — his first official womenswear collection and his first haute couture collection — in January, during the Spring 2021 haute couture shows in Paris. He tapped many of his longtime friends and muses, including Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and Bella Hadid, to model the Virginia Woolf-inspired line.
Jones's first ready-to-wear collection for the house will be Fall 2021.
Kate Spade New York
In March, Kate Spade New York's parent company, Tapestry, Inc., said it would be introducing a "new structure for creative organization" at the brand where, instead of a single creative director, there would be two positions leading the team and steering its vision: VP, Brand Concept & Strategy and Head of Product Design. Nicola Glass, who'd been in the creative director position since late 2017, would leave Kate Spade New York that spring.
Kristen Naiman — who'd already been with the company as SVP, Brand Creative at Kate Spade — assumed the role of VP, Brand Concept & Strategy; search for a Head of Product Design is still underway.
After just a little over two years, Felipe Oliveira Baptista is leaving his creative director position at Kenzo at the end of his contract this summer, WWD reports. His last day is expected to be June 30; the brand is also planning on naming a successor.
Belgian ready-to-wear brand Maison Ullens hired Haider Ackermann as a "creative consultant," putting him in charge of not only its product, but also its overall image.
Ackermann's first collection for the house will be Fall 2021.
Following Alessandro Dell'Acqua's exit in late 2019, Rochas found its new creative leader in Charles de Vilmorin, a 24-year-old designer who recently graduated from La Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne and presented an haute couture collection under his own name in January
"Rochas is a brand that holds a special place in my heart, due to both deep personal family ties and the label's heritage which I find so rich and inspiring," de Vilmorin said, in a statement. (According to Vogue, his great-aunt, the heiress Louise de Vilmorin, was friends with Marcel Rochas's wife, Hélène.) "I can't wait to bring my personal touch and reinterpret the codes of this beautiful Maison."
Philippe Benacin, the president of Rochas's parent company, Société Interparfums, added: "Audacity, elegance, timelessness and originality are the foundation of the Rochas legacy. These are also values that define the work of Charles de Vilmorin, creating perfect synergy between our two worlds. Charles' youth, talent and touch of wildness will give Rochas new life for years to come."
de Vilmorin's first collection for the house will be Spring 2022.
In late March, following some changes on Salvatore Ferragamo's board of directors, the brand announced that Paul Andrew will be leaving his role as creative director, per Business of Fashion. His final collection will be Pre-Spring 2022, and no successor has been announced.