>> Before he officially settled at Theory earlier this week, Olivier Theyskens's name was batted around for numerous top design jobs. He'll have complete creative control over both his Theyskens' Theory line and the Theory mainline. The difference — he explains: "In Theyskens’ Theory, there is a large possibility for bringing ideas and new designs, and probably it is more like a laboratory. But in the main Theory collection you are working more on what people wear every day." But what if Chanel comes calling? "This is the question that I hear for 10 years. The important thing that I believe very strongly is that there is a right thing at the right time and the right place. The ‘if’ is not something that I really consider. I am putting myself fully into the development of Theory, and I have always been like that. As a designer, I am known for more of a creativity point of view. But for Theyskens’ Theory, I was so pleased to see the orders that balanced the sharply cut jackets with the T-shirts and the jeans. In addition to creativity, simplicity has always been very important to me and in my work, so I feel the position here is right for what I want to do." [On the Runway]
>> After yesterday's announcement that Olivier Theyskens is joining Theory as artistic director, today brings a little more insight. Theyskens, who will head up a team of 25 people, says that Theory has promised him total creative freedom. He added that despite his high fashion background, he feels capable of designing anything from a glass to a cellphone: “I feel completely in tune with this new orientation.”
Andrew Rosen, founder and co-CEO of Theory, says that since Theyskens starting working with the brand on his Theyskens' Theory capsule collection back in May, the idea of expanding the designer's role had been on his mind: “Working with Olivier on the initial concept for Theyskens’ Theory, I can’t say that I wasn’t thinking about this all along. This was a natural progression. In some ways, it may seem radical, but for Olivier and me, it was not radical at all. He has been involved in the culture of the company for the past six months.”
Theory has sales of over $500 million globally, and Rosen hopes that Theyskens, whose name is recognizable in fashion circles worldwide, will help build the brand's global profile. “I feel that Olivier’s creativity and energy is what we need for our global expansion,” he said. “The world evolves; people’s tastes evolve; and the way of life evolves. Fashion has to evolve too. This is a natural evolution. Companies cannot get stuck in one place. The culture of the company won’t change, but the energy and creativity will change because there is a new force involved. Even though the Theory business is very strong, I felt it was important to step up the game. I saw a great opportunity to infuse Theory not only creatively but also energetically with someone like Olivier.”
Theyskens will be responsible for building out everything from accessories to menswear, the latter which he hasn't done in the past. “I can’t wait,” Theyskens told WWD. “I haven’t designed men’s wear yet, but it’s been on my mind. I feel very comfortable doing men’s wear.” As for designing for the Theory brand at large, Theyskens notes: “It’s much bigger and slightly different, more an expression of a designer line, while the Theyskens' Theory was quite personal."
Theyskens just secured an apartment in New York's West Village, and though he will continue to spend time in Paris, he says of Manhattan living: “Everybody says there is such a good energy here and I agree.” Like Paris, he's also not leaving designer clothes behind; Theyskens said he is open to creating one-of-a-kind pieces for special occasions, but for now, he is interested in exploring more democratic fashion.
Back in May, former Nina Ricci creative director Olivier Theyskens partnered with Theory to create a capsule collection, which then debuted in September. The collaboration clearly worked because now the relationship has been taken a step further with Olivier being named artistic director. We have to wait until next Fall to see Olivier's design influence, but in the meantime, let's behold Theory's latest impeccably styled Fall lookbook.
>> Olivier Theyskens, who began working with Theory in May, is strengthening his ties with the brand; he was just named artistic director and will take over design responsibility for the entire Theory brand.
Theyskens first began working with Theory on a capsule collection under the moniker Theyskens' Theory, which he debuted during New York Fashion Week in September. Now, in addition to designing the Theyskens' Theory label, which is launching for Spring 2011, Theyskens will also be designing Theory, with his first collection for the Fall 2011 season. In his newly-created artistic director role, Theyskens is expected to give Theory a fashion slant while still appealing to the brand's existing customer.
>> Rumors have Olivier Theyskens waiting to take over at Lanvin in 2012, but how about some rumors on top of rumors? Hint reports: "Remember years ago when Theyskens, at only 25, was interviewing at Givenchy and asked for a salary twice that of [Alexander] McQueen's when he started? (They refused.) Well, he's either a skilled negotiator or self-saboteur. We hear that in the last several years he's turned down the job at both Valentino — despite a fortune proposed by Marzotto Group — and Dior. And get this: it seems he turned down Dior not once, but twice. Why? Because, according to conventional wisdom, there is no life after Dior. Many see it as an ailing house and view John Galliano as a protege of Helene Arnault, wife of LVMH (and Dior) owner Bernard Arnault." [Hint]
Stefano Pilati Said to Have Renewed Contract at Yves Saint Laurent; Karl Lagerfeld Rumored to Be Retiring in 2012
>> In response to the rumors of Stefano Pilati's tenuous footing at Yves Saint Laurent, more rumors: Balmain's Christophe Decarnin, former Saint Laurent men's designer Hedi Slimane, and Raf Simons were all reportedly approached for the job, but nonetheless, Pilati is said to have recently extended his contract for another three years. Word is, Hint reports: "Pierre Bergé has no interest in seeing the YSL brand continue. He'd rather see it killed and the legacy remain untouchable, observed only from afar through exhibitions, films, auctions, etc. As his foundation still controls the YSL archives, he can and does make life difficult for whomever wants a closer look at the house's DNA," which may have contributed to the potential replacements turning Pilati's position down. There's also speculation that Karl Lagerfeld plans to retire on his 30th anniversary at Chanel in 2012 — "it's thought he'll stage a massive, never-before-seen, no-expense-spared farewell" — leaving Alber Elbaz to take his place and Olivier Theyskens to take the reins at Lanvin. [Hint]
The New York Times's Eric Wilson writes of the collection: "The clothes are remarkable because they reflect Mr. Theyskens’s signature drainpipe style, but also look like Theory’s urban wardrobe." There are 80 looks in all, priced 30 to 40 percent higher than Theory's main collection. Among the goods: a narrow-sleeved leather jacket with white cotton lining (under $1,000), trim white jeans with loose-fitting pockets and cuffs sewn to stay rolled (about $240), floaty dresses made with double layers of Japanese crinkle polyster ($690), a black washed silk dress with elastic straps and pockets (around $500 to $550), jackets cut with a deep notch at the back of the neck, suit separates in stretch wool, jeans painted with a silver paint substance, and shoes. In the past, when Theyskens worked for Rochas and Nina Ricci, his creations were upwards of $2,000.
“I think the one thing that maybe people don’t understand is the range that Olivier is capable of,” Theory’s president and founder Andrew Rosen, who owns a horse named "Theyskens' Theory," said. “I think that he was very much inspired by doing something more democratic.”
>> Next week, Olivier Theyskens will unveil his capsule collection for Theory — a pairing that was to many a surprise, given Theyskens's strength in designing red carpet gowns, but the designer told Vogue.com: “I love doing every type of clothes. I was thinking for a long time about starting a collection in another sector, something that corresponded in my mind to a Theory product. I don’t see it as such a transformation. It felt like a logical process, a result of a natural way of designing. Everything I start doing I feel personally, very me.”
Vogue.com previewed the collection — a few more images here — and from the descriptions, expect a lot of black: there's a black leather biker jacket, washed black denim trousers, black shiny flat booties, a black tailored wool jacket, and "a gray shawl-collared jacket of stretch linen and viscose cut so that it curves forward on the body."
Some additional details surrounding the Olivier Theyskens deal with Andrew Rosen's Theory are finally out, and the seemingly unlikely pair are proving to have a lot more in common than one would imagine.
Since leaving Nina Ricci in 2009 (largely due to the house not feeling his collections were commercial enough), Theyskens has reportedly been searching for the opportunity to design more accessible fashion and was the one to initiate a meeting with Rosen.
“There is always a difference between how people perceive you — and I think image is very important in that regard — and the reality of the market,” Theyskens told WWD. He says an improvement in textiles and manufacturing added to his desire to create something more democratic. “It’s more that I see all the possibilities, and that’s very stimulating. I like things to be well thought out, to have a line, and I feel comfortable — I feel this is a very logical fit with what I’ve been looking for.”
Having only inked a deal two weeks ago, Rosen and Theyskens are still figuring out exactly how the partnership will evolve and what the upcoming collection might include. Two things the duo has confirmed—Theyskens will be based in New York, and the collaboration will be called Theyskens Theory. As for a release date, Rosen announced the line will be presented with showroom appointments in New York around the time of the Spring 2011 fashion shows this September.
Leigh Lezark appears on the June cover of Vogue Turkey.
Olivier Theyskens explains his partnership with Theory: "For a long time, I've been looking for a way of working with affordable fashion. . . As a designer, I'm not a guy that can be put in a niche. I'm a guy who can also put his mind to something more global and accessible. Also, I've always been hoping that my friends can buy what I design."
Azzaro is opening a temporary boutique in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.