The Debrief
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How Big Brands Choose their Creative Directors

Louis Vuitton is expected to name its Virgil Abloh successor within weeks. BoF’s Imran Amed joins Lauren Sherman to discuss what luxury labels think about when recruiting top designers.

 

Background:

Louis Vuitton has spent almost a year searching for a Virgil Abloh successor after the designer died in November 2021. According to sources, Martine Rose, Grace Wales Bonner and Telfar Clemens are among the names that were considered by owner LVMH, and the decision is expected to be announced within weeks. But how do brands like Louis Vuitton even go about finding a designer?

“Without the creative energy, without that kind of excitement, there’s nothing to sell,” said Imran Amed, BoF founder and editor-in-chief.

Key Insights:

  • While all brands have their own personality and the situations that necessitate finding a new creative director differ, the things most brands look for in a leader are similar.
  • Executives have to consider whether they’re looking for revolution, like when Gucci tapped Alessandro Michele for creative energy and new ideas, or evolution, like when Saint Laurent tapped Anthony Vaccarello to keep its aesthetic formula after Hedi Slimane departed.
  • A strong vision is the most important thing. But creative directors also need to have commercial sensibility and the ability to work in a corporate environment.
  • One of Abloh’s achievements was that he managed to build a community at Louis Vuitton, and engage consumers who had been traditionally excluded by the luxury industry.

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