Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Who run the (fashion) world? Boys.

Raf Simons taking his last bow at Jil Sander
Exactly 12 seasons ago, Raf Simons moved from Jil Sander to Dior and almost instantly removed every bit of Galliano's presence at the house, whether we like it or not. Everyone was rather hesitant at first, slamming the designer for creating 'non couture' gar-ments - like anyone has a definition of haute couture anymore - and disrespecting the real aesthetic of the brand, but over the last two years we have all grown - more or less - accustomed to the designer's fresh take on Christian Dior's legacy.

Around the same time another incident happened. Fashion's darling Nicolas Ghesquiere was let off from Balenciaga and had nowhere to go, but all that was sorted out half a year ago when he got a gig at Louis Vuitton after the house ended its contract with long-time designer Marc Jacobs. Unlike Simons, Ghes-quiere was accepted straightaway by all the key parties - press, buyers, fans and all - and managed to successfully establish a new look for the French brand with only two collections.

What no one realized until now - and by no one I mean us ordinary people who hadn't calculated the costs and benefits of hiring these two designers - is exactly how influential their positions are. And the answer to that is very. The latest collections for Resort, as always, gave us a sneak-peek at which di-rections the brands are going to and the truth is that they are going to France.

Take Oscar de la Renta for example. The legendary New York-based designer has been trying to rein-vent the brand for seasons past, injecting trendiness and youth into the garments in order to attract a more junior clientele. For Resort, he decided to use a few of Simons' tricks and introduce a black bar jacket that vastly resembles the ones at Dior and structured rompers that look like they've come out
of the French house's archives. Another obvious influence can be seen at Balenciaga as this season Alexander Wang decided to go 'all Raf' and created a number of asymmetrical tops in colors favored
by the Belgian designer.
Alexander Wang at Balenciaga copy Christian Dior, Calvin Klein copy Christian Dior
Left: Christian Dior S/S '13 vs. Balenciaga Resort '15; Right: Christian Dior Resort '15 vs. Calvin Klein Resort '15
Ghesquiere's work for Louis Vuitton also serves as an open source of inspiration for a lot of young de-signers. Both Derek Lam and Fausto Puglisi have done their own versions of the color-blocked A-line dress with a frontal zipper and defined waist, while Francisco Costa played around with the color pa-lette used in Ghesquiere's debut collection for Vuitton. The Calvin Klein designer also drew inspiration from Christian Dior's Resort '15 show as can be seen in the photo above.

The big question that we should be asking, though, is 'Why these two?' Well for one, Raf Simons and Nicolas Ghesquiere are two of the most talented visionaries out there who are not only extraordinary designers, but also understand the need for profit. However, the more believable reason is this: Chris-tian Dior and Louis Vuitton are some of the largest mega-brands in today's fashion and they both be-long to the LVMH group, meaning twice as much influence. And at the end of the day, no matter who
is at the helm of a house, what makes a designer relevant and influential is the money behind him.

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