Pierpaolo Piccioli Exits Valentino, Dries Van Noten Announces Retirement, and more news you missed

Pierpaolo Piccioli Exits Valentino
Following a quarter-century at Valentino, Pierpaolo Piccioli announced today his exit as creative director. Jacopo Venturini, CEO of the Italian luxury house, said, “I am grateful to Pierpaolo for his role as creative director and for his vision, commitment and creativity that have brought the Maison Valentino to what it stands for today – we extend our deepest gratitude to Pierpaolo for writing an important chapter in the history of the Maison Valentino. His contribution over the past 25 years will leave an indelible mark.” In an Instagram post, Piccioli said, “Not all stories have a beginning or an end; some live a kind of eternal present that shines so bright that it won’t produce any shadows. I’ve been in this company for 25 years, and for 25 years, I’ve existed, and I’ve lived with the people who have woven the weaves of this beautiful story that is mine and ours.” Piccioli assumed the sole role of creative director in July 2016 following Maria Grazia Chiuri‘s exit. In 1999, Valentino Garavani entrusted Chiuri and Piccioli with invigorating the brand’s accessories line, a mission they executed masterfully, breathing new life into the category. Their ascent to creative directors of accessories came under Alessandra Facchinetti‘s tenure as creative director for the ready-to-wear line, following Facchinetti’s departure in 2008, they assumed creative leadership of the brand. Piccioli’s tenure at Valentino was defined by his daring exploration of vibrant hues, including introducing the PP Pink Pantone shade, the pursuit of elevated elegance, and strategic collaborations—such as enlisting Lewis Hamilton as a brand ambassador—underscored his creative leadership. Notably, his final Fall/Winter 2024 collection deviated from the brand’s signature palette, embracing a monochromatic black aesthetic, hinting at potential shifts to come. Industry insiders speculate that Mayhoola, Valentino’s owner, is reportedly considering Alessandro Michele or even Chiuri for the coveted role.[WWD]

Dries Van Noten Announces Retirement
The fashion world was taken aback on Tuesday, by the surprising announcement from Belgian designer Dries Van Noten, revealing his plans to retire following his forthcoming men’s show in June. Since establishing his eponymous brand in 1986, Van Noten has stood as a towering figure in the industry doing things on his own terms. In a heartfelt letter accompanied by an illustration of the designer and his dog by Richard Haines, Van Noten conveyed a mix of emotions, stating, “Now, I want to shift my focus to all the things I never had the time for. I’m sad, but at the same time happy, to let you know that I will step down at the end of June. I have been preparing for this moment for a while, and I feel it’s time to leave room for a new generation of talents to bring their vision to the brand.” During this transition, the studio team will take the reins in designing the women’s Spring/Summer 2025 collection, with the announcement of Van Noten’s successor on its way. Known for his innovative collections and vibrant color palettes, Van Noten made headlines in 2018 when he sold a majority stake of his brand to the Spanish fashion and beauty conglomerate Puig. Despite relinquishing control, he retains a significant minority shareholding and continued to serve as chief creative officer and chairman of the board. The news of Van Noten’s impending departure coincides with speculation surrounding Puig’s preparations for an initial public offering. Reflecting on his final Fall/Winter 2024 collection the designer celebrated the essence of empowered femininity and individuality through a delicate pastel palette and fluid drapery, leaving an unforgettable, final mark. As anticipation builds for the next chapter in the Dries Van Noten legacy, the stage is set for a new creative to carry forward his brand and narrative.[Vogue]

Hermès Birkin Lawsuit
Hermès, the luxury French brand famous for its high-end Birkin handbags with prices that can go up to $450,000, is currently caught up in a legal dispute. The company has been accused of monopolistic behavior and violating antitrust laws by two California customers who could not purchase Birkin bags. The customers allege that Hermès’ sales practices require potential Birkin buyers to spend thousands on other Hermès items and accessories first before they will offer the brand’s most loyal customers the covetable accessory. This compels consumers into additional purchases, which they argue violates the law, as monopolies are not allowed to use such tactics to boost sales in unrelated markets where dominance is not established. Hermès distributes its iconic Birkin bags through exclusive channels, avoiding online retail and relying on celebrity status or longstanding patronage. However, according to legal experts, proving a monopoly claim is challenging as they have to prove a tie-in. [CNN]

Balmain CEO Jean-Jacques Guevel Steps Down
After four years leading the Parisian fashion house Balmain, CEO Jean-Jacques Guevel is stepping down. Guevel, who navigated Balmain through the challenges posed by the pandemic and capitalized on the surge in luxury demand, also orchestrated a strategic licensing deal with luxury beauty giant Estée Lauder. This partnership is poised to unveil a revamped fragrance offering for the brand later this year. Guevel’s departure aligns with the recent exit of marketing chief Txampi Diz. Mayhoola CEO and Balmain Chairman Rachid Mohamed expressed confidence in Balmain’s potential, stating that Balmain has “the potential to become a true global luxury goods leader, thanks to its unique heritage, talented creative director Olivier Rousteing and our exceptional colleagues. We will be building onto the significant growth of the last years and will announce a new CEO in due course.” [BoF]

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