Forever told to step up to where the lights meet the runway, to have that spark born from your creative genius outshine the rest, to the echelon of design worthy of that Anna Wintour smile. Cheese! No pictures please, but picture this… Icons who have built and upheld the very foundation of the labels for which they sketch, sew and stitch life in to are now stepping down. To what? It is nearly impossible to imagine they will soar to new fabulous heights, as they have already reached the pinnacle of the industry. Although Ralph Lauren rode that Polo horse all the way to the top, it seems the reins would have to be pried from his hands in order for that vastly adored horse to come back down. That’s right, Ralph Lauren declared his successor, Stefan Larsson, CEO of the empire he constructed from his first tie creation to the racks of men’s, women’s, and children’s clothes sold daily. Lauren told “The New York Times” that he isn’t taking a step back just yet, viewing his relationship with Larsson as a partnership. His time will come when he can no longer understand what they are designing. National Public Radio (NPR) reported that Lauren brought Larsson, president of Old Navy, to run the luxury brand’s headquarters to bring the brand a “fresh and global perspective.” Setting sail for Maison Dior, Raf Simons stepped down as the creative director of Christian Dior just last month. Although their empires are enrooted in two different continents, their sewing machines may hum similar tunes. “The New York Times” reported that Simons felt hindered by his inability to influence the house beyond the collections he designed. These announcements were revealed just about a month after both designers had their collections flaunted down the runway during Spring Ready-to-Wear (RTW) 2016 Fashion Week. Not leaving in bad blood, but making way for new spirit, I have the utmost respect for both Ralph’s and Raf’s decisions. Dior lovers and Ralph Lauren donners, don’t fret, brand identity will not be lost at the mercy of these announcements, it’s quite the contrary. New blood brings in a fresh vision, a unique interpretation of the brand and the house altogether. I admire that both Lauren and Simons recognized it was their time rather than holding on for dear life, knuckles turned white around the metaphorical banister lining the stairs, to the fashion empires. They are selfless in that the brand is put before the individual, just as one tasseled or embellished shoe is put before the other. That is how the industry stays young in itself, but also how a marvelous history is designed. Footstep after footstep after footstep. Michelle Foti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Footstep after footstep to history