Why Designers Aren’t Safe These Days

The Ferré shake-up: left, Lars Nilsson; right, the 6267 designersPhoto: Getty Images

Over the past two years, major fashion houses have chewed through head designers like a small order of fries. One minute you’re hot, and the next you’re, well, gone. Take Ferré, where Lars Nilsson was ousted (and just replaced by the 6267 designers) before he even completed one collection. Isabel Toledo lasted only two seasons at Anne Klein. Paulo Melim Andersson completed only three collections for Chloé, where an assistant recently took his place. And Peter Dundas made only three collections for Emmanuel Ungaro, where Esteban Cortazar took his post. The common thread? Labels struggle to find designers who can at once revitalize an established brand and make commercially appealing clothes. The Times reports:

But stories like Nilsson’s are troubling: The designer said he complained to Ferré management if, say, the embroidery on the garments he designed didn’t meet his standards. Could that have contributed to his dismissal? Perhaps fashion houses need to figure out a way to help designers grow on the job, rather than throwing them out like last season’s shoe.

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Why Designers Aren’t Safe These Days