International Fashion Houses and their Legacy

Many Fashion houses are asking the same question:

Who will carry on our legacy?

This is the question currently many international Fashion Houses are asking. Which designer will take over and carry on the legacy of the brand?

The fashion industry is constantly changing and and re-inventing itself, but the Fashion Houses still have to maintain their individuality and specific Fashion styles.

We have a closer look at some of the best known Fashion Giants of the industry and how they plan to sustain their fashion legacy.

Giorgio Armani and Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld are in their 80s, Robert Cavalli is 74, and Bernard Arnault, the C.E.O of Louis Vuitton, turns 66 this year. The question arises, who will continue the fashion legacy and be the successors to the legendary designers. The above name and many more were fundamental in creating some of the most memorable looks up to date, but now we would like to know, who will be next in line?

Successful Fashion empires are profitable. The combined annual revenue  of designer handbags, designer shoes and other personal luxury goods, is more than $40 billion (R473bn).

Replacing an established and famous Fashion designer is a challenge. Twelve years after Coco Chanel died, Karl Lagerfeld created and brought new life into the Chanel brand by interpreting the founder’s artistic. And more recently Nicolas Ghesquiere has re-energized growth at Louis Vuitton, after the well known designer Marc Jacobs left to focus on his own label. Hedi Slimane has made Yves Saint Laurent one of the most stylish brands with trends like the biker jackets, baby doll dresses and skinny jeans.

On the other hand, Gucci‘s succession path, was not so easy. After being promoted to creative director in 2006, Frida Giannini struggled to develop a unique identity for the Italian brand. That led to a sudden severe fall in sales, and analysts at Raymond James expect it will take until 2017 to recover to high single-digit growth. Owner, Kering, dropped Giannini in January and replaced her with Alessandro Michele.

The 81 years old, Lagerfeld has been keeping the Chanel fashion name alive since Dwight D Eisenhower occupied the white house. The German designer known for his prolific work ethic, black and white wardrobe and ever present sunglasses has worked with Fendi for a half century and simultaneously for Chanel since 1983. In his spare time he also designs for his own label.

Lagerfeld’s crocodile boots will be tough to fill at Chanel, even though he is surrounded by a strong team. Fendi is co-designed by a member of the Italian founding family, and both companies employ scores of talented artisans. While that provides some assurance of continuity, the role of creative director is getting more demanding and requires high levels of energy.

Kering and LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, which counts Fendi among its 70 brands have been building stables of up and coming designers to be the next one’s to pursue and continue the fashion legacy. The advantage of this approach is, that you leave quite a lot of time for the successors to gain traction.

Cavali however does not have anyone to take over his fashion label. His five children do not seem interested to take over the family fashion business. His son, Daniele for a brief while worked in his the business, but he quit last year. Since then Cavali has brought in a new creative director and there are whispers of selling a majority stake to a private firm, but this is not confirmed.

Giorgio Armani said that he has still not chosen a successor to run his corporation when he is gone. Armani has no children, but does have close family relatives that are willing to take over his fashion legacy. Anyone who know the designer, will know that he leaves nothing unplanned, so it is a bit of a shock to know he has no strategy in place.

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