Marios Schwab to Halston? Brands Increasingly Looking For One-Label Designers

>> An in-house team has produced the last two Halston collection since Marco Zanini left, but the search is still on for a creative director.  Sources say that young London talent Marios Schwab might be the man — he's apparently been in talks with the brand — but Bonnie Takhar, Halston CEO, wouldn't confirm anything. “We have been looking at all options in the market, but we have made no decisions.”

If Schwab were to take the job, would he be required to shutter his eponymous label?  Increasingly, brands are looking for devoted creative directors who don't have to split time between labels; in fact, a lot of brands are digging up designers who have never helmed a label before: Vionnet just hired Prada alum Rodolfo Paglialunga, Nina Ricci is supposedly going with Louis Vuitton-trained Peter Copping, Valentino recently promoted accessory designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli, and Chloe decided on alum Hannah MacGibbon.

Hiring designers: it's not what it used to be »

Unlike the late '90s, when as WWD points out, "LVMH started a trend of snaring high-profile designers with buzzy signature labels to rev up heritage brands: John Galliano for Dior, Alexander McQueen for Givenchy, Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors for Celine, and Narciso Rodriguez for Loewe," brand owners are increasingly ruling out potential creative director candidates who have signature collections, according to Floriane de Saint Pierre, who runs an eponymous executive search and consulting firm in Paris. “They say, ‘We have a full-time CEO; we want to have a full-time creative director.  It’s a little bit coming back to the roots of fashion: someone who takes over the brand from the founder and goes on with the development of the brand, and embraces all aspects of it.”

In fact, she elaborated, there have been cases where a designer’s insistence on continuing with a signature collection has been “a deal breaker,” or a company won't even screen designers who have their own label.  Riccardo Tisci, who sidelined his signature brand to take up at Givenchy, understands the current need for devotion. "Fashion has changed. Ten years ago it was easy to sell fashion. Ten years ago, you could work for a big house and for your own label. It takes a lot of elements to make a label successful. Women coming into a shop expect quality, the right price, a great fit, everything.”

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