How Big Brands Choose their Creative Directors
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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. Additional Resources: Virgil Abloh: Building on a Legacy: Like Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen and Gianni Versace before him, the late Virgil Abloh leaves a powerful legacy. What does this mean for Off-White and Louis Vuitton? Which Luxury Leadership Configuration Works Best? In luxury fashion, the right configuration of creative and commercial leadership is critical to success, writes Pierre Mallevays.
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