The Designer Shuffle Guide: Who’s Going Where? [Updated]

designer marc jacobs

There’s no time like the now, especially if you’re thinking about taking up the reigns at a billion-dollar fashion house.

Over the past few months we’ve been trying to get our brains around the movements taking place at Mulberry, Coach and Bally, while simultaneously pondering the vigor of Marc Jacobs‘ contract at Louis Vuitton. And what’s this about that guy at YSL ditching fashion for slimline tablets?

We’ve rounded up all the important rumors, confirmations and claims from ‘trusted sources’ and compiled them into something hopefully more manageable. If you hear a weird tapping sound when you’re done reading, it’s not just your brain spasming – it’s also Kanye West frantically reworking his resume all the way from Paris.


kanye west Rumored In: Christophe Decarnin, who left Balmain in 2011 following health issues and was replaced by Olivier Rousteing.

What does it mean? Kanye’s first and second collections under his eponymous line did exactly have critics in raptures. By enlisting Decarnin, both would get another shot at getting their names back in the press in a good way. Decarnin has been absent from headlines since the unnamed illness caused him to leave Balmain.







Confirmed Out: Marco Zanini, who was creative director at Rochas for five years and is departing as a “mutual decision”. As rumors suggested, Zanini is heading to newly revived couture house Schiaparelli.

Confirmed In: Vet Italian designer Alessandro Dell’Acqua. Dell’Acqua currently designs for his own brand, No. 21, which shows in Milan, and will present his first collection for Rochas in Paris in Feburary 2014.

What does it mean? More good things. No. 21 was one of our favorite shows to come out of Milan Fashion Week this 2014 season, and we’re psyched to see how he brings his own aesthetic to the ornate confection left by Zanini.




jw anderson

Confirmed Out: Stuart Vevers, who headed to Coach.

Confirmed In: J.W. Anderson. LVMH have announced they’ll be taking a minority stake in the 29-year-old designer’s eponymous brand, and in return, are appointing him to the helm of Loewe.

What does it mean? Good things, if you’re into luxury leather goods. Anderson has submitted a “brilliant” proposal for Loewe that was “fresh, modern and a new way of looking at the brand, while respecting the history,” Pierre-Yves Roussel, chief executive officer of LVMH’s fashion division, told WWD. It’s also a great opportunity for Anderson, freeing him up creatively and (most likely) opening more doors. Before Vevers, José Enrique Oña Selfa and Narciso Rodriguez also designed Loewe



Confirmed In: Alexandre de Brettes as CEO

What does it mean? Kane’s not going anywhere, but he is starting to make some changes after his brand was acquired by Kering in January. The first of these is putting the running of his business into the hands of de Brettes, who has been with Kering since 2002, and who will help the company focus more on global growth. Plans include Kane’s first freestanding boutique and the addition of a second ready-to-wear range.







marc jacobs vuittonRumored Out: Marc Jacobs? Rumor has it he might not renew his 16-year contract when it expires in 2014. But him and parter Robert Duffy began discussing renewed contracts only last year, and WWD hinted at Marc splitting from LVMH to go public à la Michael Kors. With Vuitton worth close to $1 billion, an IPO would be pretty damn lucrative.

Rumored InNicolas GhesquièreWWD calls him the “heir apparent” to Louis Vuitton. Fashionista reports a “reliable source” reaching out to them with word that Ghesquière and LVMH are in “serious negotiations” and that the designer is definitely in talks to succeed Jacobs.

What does it mean? Marc might want to focus on building his own brand. He recently handed the reigns of Marc by Marc Jacobs over to Katie Hillier and Luella Bartley, further freeing up some time to work on MJ proper.



Confirmed Out: Emma Hill.

Rumored In: Design duo Graeme Fidler and Michael Herz, who announced they were leaving Bally on Monday. Luella Bartley is also a candidate, as is Irish bag designer Pauric Sweeney. For the moment, Mulberry will be continuing with Hill-trained design team.

What does it mean? Hill started at Mulberry in 2007, created the iconic ‘Alexa’ and ‘Del Rey’ bags, and left while the company was thriving. Upon her exit last month, she cited “disagreements with management over creative and operational strategy,” which was not a surprise to the fashion world: after Bruno Guillon took over as chief executive in 2012, after 11 years at Hermès, prices were hiked and much of the fun was stamped out.



Confirmed Out: Reed Krakoff recently resigned from his Creative Director post after 17 years at the helm to focus on his eponymous line. At the time Coach, which owns that label, said they were merely exploring options to sell it – but Business of Fashion now reports that Coach want to get rid of it ASAP, and are cutting Krakoff’s annual bonus by $3m if that doesn’t happen by July 29.

Confirmed In: Stuart Vevers. Vevers’ resume includes winning the British council’s Accessories Designer of the Year award, Creative Directing at Spanish luxury label Loewe (and, previously, Mulberry), plus spending time at Calvin Klein, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy and Bottega Veneta).  Ergo, he’s a pretty big deal in the luxury accessories world. We previously had our money on Emma Hill for the post, and Marc Jacobs was also a rumored candidate.

What does it mean? Coming from Loewe to the less-exclusive Coach brand will allow Vevers tap into a bigger customer pool, but he also might give it a shot of luxury via higher-end offerings. Coach are also expanding their ready-to-wear, outerwear and menswear lines.



Confirmed Out: Co-designers and Mulberry candidates Graeme Fidler and Michael Herz will leave at the end of September.

Rumored In: WWD suggest Bally are in talks with Alexandre Mattiussi of Ami menswear. Mattiussi recently won the prestigious 24th Andam Fashion Award. John Vizzone, ex-senior vice president of Ralph Lauren’s Purple and Black Label collections, is also said to be on the table.

What does it mean? Fidler and Herz are likely heading to Mulberry.






Confirmed Out: CEO Paul Deneve left after two years to work as vice-president of “special projects” at Apple.

Confirmed In: Francesca Bellettini of Bottega Veneta, who WWD lauds for her “merchandising prowess”.

What does it mean? It’s all a bit murky. Although the move does give Hedi Slimane, who was appointed as head designer by Deneve, even more power. A press release from Kering (formerly PPR) states that in addition to his role as creative director, Slimane will “supervise all strategic projects for the brand” alongside Belletti. And on the technology front, Deneve seems like the dude to envision something a lot less lame than Google Glass.




Confirmed In: Jason Wu signed on as Artistic Director, a role created especially for him.

What does it mean? Wu will continue to run his own eponymous RTW, shoe, accessories and diffusion lines while filling the Boss post. Meanwhile, Hugo Boss will hopefully develop into something less cologney and more FLOTUS-approved.









Confirmed Out: Nicola Formichetti left Mugler to sign on as Diesel’s first Artistic Director.

Rumored In: Our bets are on Alexandre Vauthier, who did a stint at Thierry Mugler upon graduation. He then worked as head couture designer at Jean Paul Gaultier before founding his own label in 2009.

What does it mean? Founder Tierry Mugler himself is acting as creative advisor until a replacement for Formichetti has been found. President Joël Palix told Vogue UK, “It is time to unite both activities under one single creative management and turn Mugler into a global and fully integrated luxury brand with a synergetic approach across fashion, accessories and fragrances.” Also, less Lady Gaga on the runway.






We’ll update this as the shakeups undoubtedly continue.

Related Links:

5 Reasons That Mulberry’s Emma Hill Should Succeed Reed Krakoff At Coach
Paco Rabanne Designer Out After Only One Year
The Six Most Sobering Quotes In Galliano’s First-Ever Sober Interview


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