From Christopher Bailey’s new chief executive officer role at Burberry to Nicola Formichetti’s move to Diesel, this year was not without its fair share of high-profile comings and goings. So what’s 2014 shaping up to be? Below are the year’s top industry changes with what we predict to be a very exciting, if not surprising, start to a new era of womenswear.
Louis Vuitton Goes Back to the Future
Undoubtedly, Nicholas Ghesquière’s succession to the “LV” emblazoned throne is the most highly anticipated appointment of the year (although hardly surprising). Yet despite Ghesquière’s track record at Balenciaga nearly matching Marc Jacobs’ at Louis Vuitton in length, playback is not the same. Given a tenure marked with cheeky monogram totes and catwalks outfitted with carousels and fountains, the attention-seeking Jacobs sounds a lot like a beat-pounding soundtrack to a raucous rave. Ghesquière’s calculated, futuristic notes are best reserved for the postmodern listeners.
Come Autumn-Winter 2014, do not expect to see the same irreverent showmanship from the mad scientist of couture. Instead, be prepared to see leather goods re-imagined in innovative shapes and finishes. And oh, the shoes! Even more popular than those slouchy, Lariat bags from recent Balenciaga history are Ghesquière’s vertiginous heels – like those crafted from resin, plywood and Formica a few seasons ago. Sculptural footwear at Louis Vuitton are sure to be a podiatrist’s dream, or for the less graceful fashionista: her downfall.
The Softer, Romantic Side of Thierry Mugler
Formichetti’s recent strip show antics for his Diesel Reboot campaign may have turned attention away from David Koma’s rather quiet taking of the Thierry Mugler reigns. When it comes to the house’s recent revival, it’s no secret that Formichetti’s celebrity status and highflying gal pal Lady Gaga had a lot to do with with it. But that’s not to say that Formichetti’s departure will leave Mugler in media exile. A design newbie, Koma is fast building a celebrity following since his graduation from Central Saint Martins and launch of his eponymous label in 2009. Gaga, along with Beyoncé and Rihanna, were among the first to wear Koma’s curvilinear body-con dresses.
Of course, a neat progression of the Mugler aesthetic is in order. Koma is still fine-tuning his aesthetic as a budding designer and unlikely to go to extremes. There’s something awfully romantic about Koma and the way he balances a sexy, form-fitting bodice with a flared skirt. What to expect in 2014: precision cutouts, geometric motifs and asymmetric hems. Yes, yes and yes! The Mugler New Year points to all of that and more. There will be a lot less of the severity that was (and still is) Formichetti’s calling card. And it will all come packaged with a kind of lovely, feminine softness never thought possible from leather and latex.
Dramatic Heights at Hugo Boss
Profit warnings at Hugo Boss are an unsavory way to end the year. It’s all the more reason why the German-based brand has its gross margin hopes riding on Jason Wu and his takeover of the Boss womenswear line. Pre-Fall 2014 was the last collection to appear by the in-house design team: sartorially safe sheath dresses, silk knit sweaters, button-down shirts. But if Boss stands to beat competitors with its “effortlessly chic” offerings, something has got to give. So what’s the White House fashion darling going to do?
For starters, Wu has the ability to imbue pleated cocktail dresses, deluxe parkas, striped knits and stovepipe trousers with a hard-bitten glamour. For Wu’s debut Boss Fall-Winter 2014 collection, observe as workwear essentials go for much-needed drama. Beading, fur and corsets – a recent fixation of Wu at his own label –stand to make a powerful statement. Even the more demure Boss lady will appreciate deceptively hidden details like lacing and lining.