LONDON, United Kingdom — BoF compiles the people and companies behind the biggest fashion headlines of the year.
In a radical rethink of the fashion calendar, Burberry chief creative and chief executive officer Christopher Bailey announced in February that the brand would combine its men's and women's shows into two annual runway events, with “seasonless" collections available to buy immediately after each show. The move was game-changing for the fashion industry and one that saw many other brands follow suit. More than 30 labels have since adopted some form of fashion immediacy strategy in an attempt to cash in on the social media "buzz" generated by their shows. Mixed gender shows also became popular in 2016, with some brands following Vetements’ lead in showing on the men’s calendar.
In what was one of the worst-kept secrets in fashion this year, the news that Raf Simons would be joining Calvin Klein was announced in August, marking the Belgian designer’s next move after three years at the helm of Christian Dior womenswear. “The arrival of Raf Simons as chief creative officer signifies a momentous new chapter for Calvin Klein,” said Steve Shiffman, CEO of Calvin Klein in a statement. The company also appointed Pieter Mulier, Simons' longstanding right hand man, to the position of creative director, reporting directly to the designer.
In September, British supermodel Kate Moss spoke exclusively to BoF about her plans to start her own talent agency, after leaving Storm Models, her agency of 23 years. Kate Moss Agency launched with a handful of talents, including Elfie Reigate and Louis Baines, which it is representing as models. Moss also revealed that she is expanding her lifestyle brand with a string of new collaborations and projects.
The designer confirmed his departure from the French fashion house Yves Saint Laurent in a joint statement with its parent company Kering in April, after failing to reach an agreement on a new contract. Under his creative leadership the fashion label flourished, reporting just over $1 billion in sales revenue in 2015. The designer has since been in a legal dispute with his former employer over the application of a non-compete clause, for which he was awarded $13 million.
The French fashion house appointed Valentino co-creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri as the first female director of its womenswear business, ending months of speculation over who would take the helm following Raf Simons’ sudden departure in 2015. Chiuri joins Dior at a difficult time for the luxury sector, which has been hit by falling demand from tourists in Paris and several major Asian markets.
The Vetements designer and new artistic director of Balenciaga spoke to BoF about his plan to implement a different operating model aimed at streamlining the production cycle, taking advantage of pre-collection timing and elevating the creative output of Vetements. Despite its comparatively small size and independence, Vetements was among the first brands to rethink and rationalise the ever-increasing speed and demands of the current fashion system — alongside much bigger players including Burberry, Tom Ford and Tommy Hilfiger.
The chief executive of Gucci told BoF why he will never discount any of creative director Alessandro Michele’s future collections in its own retail network, following the phenomenal success of a turnaround strategy that helped the Italian fashion house post consecutive increases in sales growth. Bizzari’s strategy, which he first outlined in January 2015, is aimed at building the “buzz” around Michele’s creative efforts into long-term brand desire and engagement, reducing inventory levels and upgrading the consumer experience.
In September, American Apparel founder Dov Charney spoke to BoF about how he is building a start-up that he hopes will recreate the business he left two years ago, after he was dismissed from the company in a cloud of controversy involving a series of lawsuits.
When Los Angeles-based apparel brand Nasty Gal filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month, those in the retail and tech communities were not particularly surprised. While founder Sophia Amoruso had already distanced herself from the company, there had long been rumblings that, after raising $65 million in venture capital funding, Nasty Gal was in trouble. The company is not alone. Nasty Gal is just one of several apparel retailers in the past two years to face financial turmoil resulting in bankruptcy or an outright closure.
In perhaps one of the shortest creative tenures the fashion industry has seen, the appointment of Justin O'Shea to Brioni in March and his departure in October shocked the fashion world. The former global fashion director of MyTheresa’s appointment in March was seen an unconventional move for the Italian luxury house and his first advertising campaign featuring heavy metal band Metallica for Brioni was a far cry from the brand's classic suited identity.