Was the gossip flowing more freely in Milan this season, or am I simply more receptive than I used to be? Probably a bit of both, but whatever the case, the shows provided an opportunity to not only assess the state of fashion, but to also read a little into what its future may look like. Who won the week? Prada. Big ideas, big desire. But also, the striking actors who got paid to attend the shows, and the brands that benefited from them being there. (Feels like fashion is Hollywood’s only sure bet at the moment.) Here’s what else everyone was talking about…
A few months ago, I reported that Alessandro Michele, the former Gucci designer who left unceremoniously at the end of last year, had been seen with Delphine Arnault in the Dior archives. At the time, I underscored that this could, in theory, mean absolutely nothing, and that the eldest Arnault child’s standing in the business meant that she was constantly meeting with designers.
Even if LVMH doesn’t currently have a job lined up, it would be prudent to start engaging with him now. He’s not a talent you want going to a competitor. But the noise around Michelle’s expected move over to the most valuable company in Europe reached a fever pitch in Milan, when there were even rumors from inside LVMH that they would be announcing his appointment just prior to the staging of the Gucci show at 3 p.m. CET on Friday. (Which would have been an absolutely savage move.)
What’s tripping me up here are the various proposed scenarios. Some are saying that he is going to Dior Men to replace Kim Jones, some are saying that he is going to Fendi (and that former Gucci C.E.O. Marco Bizzarri is following), others are saying that he is doing both. (More on where that would leave Jones in one second.) Perhaps I’m wrong, but I don’t think someone like Michele is suited to splitting his ideas in that way. (Jones is a designer for hire: his strength is connecting product and marketing, and less about one visual signature.)
If Michele is indeed headed to LVMH, don’t be surprised if he ends up doing something entirely different than what we’ve been hearing. Up until the night before Hedi Slimane’s Celine appointment was announced, high-level people in the know were convinced that he was taking over Dior. The only people who really know what’s happening are Michele, Bernard Arnault, LVMH fashion group C.E.O. Sidney Toledano, Michael Burke, and maybe a couple of his children.