In the game of fashion musical chairs, here’s what you need to know.
It seems as though creative directors are always coming and going, from one fashion house to the next. It can be quite overwhelming to keep up with who’s come, who’s gone and who’s still there.
If you’ve ever played a game of musical chairs, then you know that no seat is guaranteed — and that can certainly feel like the case with designers. Heavy workloads, changes in design direction, bankruptcies and commercial pressures have all been cited as reasons for creative director departures. Sure, some might choose to renew their contracts if even given the opportunity, but there are plenty of free agents (and vacant seats) floating about, too.
To help you keep everything straight, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most buzzworthy labels that have welcomed or lost their creative directors over the last few seasons. Some, like Bottega Veneta’s Daniel Lee, have already garnered industry acclaim and Instagram likes; others will be making their debuts for Fall 2020. Read on to enter this upcoming show season informed. You’re welcome.
The Italian fashion house welcomed Daniel Lee as creative director of the brand in June 2018. Coming from Old Céline and replacing Tomas Maier, Lee’s arrival at Bottega Veneta was said to fill the void that many fans of Phoebe Philo were longing for. Since his hire, the brand — specifically its now-infamous Pouch and woven accessories — has been seen on influencers and celebrities alike, making it the brand of the moment.
Raf Simons exited Calvin Klein just eight months shy of the end of his contract in December 2018. His departure was a mutual agreement with parent company PVH, which had expressed dissatisfaction with the designer’s performance over the two years he was at the brand as its chief creative officer. A few months after Simons’s departure, PVH announced it would shutter Calvin Klein’s ready-to-wear business and has yet to hire a direct replacement.
After taking over the house in 2018, Yolanda Zobel announced she would be leaving the French label in January 2020. The decision for the creative director’s exit was reportedly mutual, with Zobel hoping to focus more on other creative projects. Her last collection for the brand will be Fall 2020.
In September 2018, Escada made its New York Fashion Week debut under the creative leadership of Niall Sloan, who had joined the brand in the summer of 2017. A little over a year later, in October 2019, Escada announced a new global design director: Emma Cook. She’s set to present her first collection for the German label during the Fall 2020 season.
Lagerfeld was also the head creative at Fendi at the time of his passing. Replacing him at the Italian luxury brand is longtime collaborator and granddaughter of the company’s founders Silvia Venturini Fendi.
Succeeding Carol Lim and Humberto Leon as creative director of Kenzo is Felipe Oliveira Baptista, formerly of Lacoste. He will debut his first collection for the house during Paris Fashion Week for Fall 2020.
Bruno Sialelli joined Lanvin in January 2019, after a stint at Loewe as head of menswear. He followed Lucas Ossendrijver, who left the brand dormant since departing in 2018. Sialelli made his runway debut for Lanvin during the Fall 2019 Paris Fashion Week shows.
Yuni Ahn, Maison Kitsuné’s first-ever creative director, stepped down after three seasons in January 2020. Her last collection for the brand will be Fall 2020 and will show during Paris Fashion Week. Ahn’s replacement will be announced afterwards — and is reportedly a member of Maison Kitsuné’s studio.
Rebecca Taylor left her namesake brand, which she founded in 1996, in August 2019, citing a desire to pursue other fashion opportunities and move to Paris. In November, the company was acquired by Vince Holding Corp., along with Parker; in January, Steven Cateron was brought on as senior creative director for both brands.
Paul Surridge took to Instagram to share his departure from Roberto Cavalli in March 2019, saying he wished to focus on other projects. Not long after, the brand’s U.S. subsidiary filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Roberto Cavalli SpA was bought by the Dubai-based Damac Properties in July 2019. There’s no word yet on who will replace Surridge as head of creative.
In December 2019, Rochas announced that Alessandro Dell’Acqua, who had been the brand’s womenswear creative director for six years, would be stepping down. His last collection will be presented in February 2020, per WWD. No word yet on who will take his place.
Daniel Roseberry succeeded Bertrand Guyon as the artistic director for Schiaparelli in 2019. Hailing from Thom Browne, the designer debuted his first collection for the brand during the Fall 2019 haute couture season.
St. John is undergoing a rebrand with new creative director Zoe Turner. The British designer — who was previously at Dior — released a capsule collection in November 2019 with a big social media push.
After five years as artistic director, Julie de Libran left Sonia Rykiel in March 2019. Her last collection was Fall 2019. The following month, the brand filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the U.S. and for bankruptcy protections in France.
Hailing from Bottega Veneta, Walter Chiapponi was named creative director of Tod’s in October 2019. The designer will head the women’s and men’s collection for the brand and will showcase his first collection for Fall 2020.
Demna Gvasalia stepped down from Vetements, the luxury streetwear label he co-founded in 2014 (and shook the fashion Internet with many times over). He announced that the brand would go on without him, leaving behind his brother, Guram Gvasalia to continue running it.