Changing Faces

As the fashion world prepares for a mass upheaval of creative directors, Shane Cullen discusses the consistency at stake at major design houses.[br]It has been a busy year for big name fashion labels, both on and off the catwalk, with new faces being drafted into the creative director roles of global giants Calvin Klein and Dior. The upheaval within the fashion houses has insiders and enthusiasts alike wondering whether this change in direction will be reflected in the brands’ image, raising the question of consistency within the houses.After months of speculation, Calvin Klein announced that Dior’s former creative director Raf Simons would be taking over as chief creative director of both women’s and menswear. Meanwhile, Dior announced that Maria Grazia Chiuri, designer and former co-creative director at Valentino, would replace Simons.Taking to social media to announce the appointment of Simons, Calvin Klein’s CEO Steve Shiffman said that the change in creative director was “momentous”.  He also explained it was reflective of the “back to basics” and minimalistic approach the fashion house had when Mr. Klein himself was CEO of the company.Dior have also found themselves in the midst of a revival, as Maria Grazia Chiuri has now taken on the role of creative director for the French fashion house. An historic announcement for the designer, Maria’s appointment makes her the first female creative director in the house’s 60-year history. Chiuri is no stranger to a creative director role as she previously worked alongside Pier Paolo Piccioli for Valentino, and is renowned for the success and growth of Italian fashion label Fendi.This ongoing movement within the creative director roles prompts the question of brand consistency. Nonetheless, this is a fashion line we are talking about, where there is a constant image change from season to season. For Dior, there has been high anticipation for Chiuri’s new collection. Vogue writer Sarah Mower has praised the designer for the “romantic renaissance” pieces that she created and designed alongside Piccioli for Valentino. Dior has been renowned since its inception for its sophisticated yet edgy femininity, so finally having a female designer at the helm, especially one who championed the studded stiletto at Valentino, is sure to bring a modern twist to a classic silhouette.It is also an exciting time for Calvin Klein as Raf Simons is responsible for bringing a modern image to Dior during his four-year reign; most notably for securing celebrity ambassadors, including Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence. Simons’ move may be the perfect match, as both he and Calvin Klein share a modern image vision. Calvin Klein also have a fresh faced and youthful line-up of A-list ambassadors, with the likes of new-scene model Kendall Jenner and Justin Bieber modelling for the range, thus allowing for that brand consistency, even if it is under a new authority.Within the coming months, all eyes will be on both fashion houses as they unveil their new line-ups under new imagination. Can Chiuri make Dior a third time triumph? Will Simons make #MyCalvins, his Calvins while also maintaining the momentum of his own eponymous label? Calvin Klein is a fashion house known for its sartorial minimalism, while Simons as a designer, who was credited with bringing a minimal edge to Dior, is notoriously understated without being boring. In truth, Raf has the potential to be better than Calvin Klein himself.