Updated: Dec 1, 2022
Okay i started writing this as a Balenciaga analysis piece but then all of a sudden , Alessandro Michele deletes " Gucci creative director " off his instagram bio and word goes around that Kering has terminated his contract . So I decide to try and figure out what is exactly going wrong at the Kering Group.
November 2021- Daniel Lee leaves Bottega Veneta
Daniel Lee joined Bottega as their creative director back in 2018 and was responsible for bringing the italian brand back into the spotlight. All while providing a stellar financial performance over his three year run. Last year there was rumors circulating that Lee was extremely difficult to work with backstage and that Kering wanted him out .
This of course was a shock to many like myself who felt that the only reason the brand was relevant again was because of Lee's efforts .Matthew Blazey would eventually be chosen to replace Lee in February of this year but in my opinion has yet to deliver anything interesting over the past two seasons . This changing of the guards at Bottega would prove to be the first in many strange and obscure decisions at kering .
August 2022- Alexander McQueen drops Alexander from their designs and just goes by McQueen
Just because it worked for YSL , it doesn't mean it would work for everybody. Yves Saint Laurent famously changed their name to Saint Laurent Paris back in 2012 and saw great success in terms of rebranding and revitalizing the house . Although the McQueen name change is more subtle in nature with the brand logo still spotting " Alexander" , the writing is pretty much on the wall and a full name change is bound to happen in the near future .
November 2022 - Balenciaga under fire for posting ‘creepy’ campaign featuring kids with BDSM outfits
Balenciaga becomes under fire online after sharing images of two young girls holding stuffed animals dressed in what appears to be bondage gear as part of their holiday campaign . Additionally in their Adidas collaboration campaign released just weeks before some internet users were quick to point that one of the background props included a document that had a very poorly hidden court document about 'virtual child porn'. The brand's response woyld focous be to deny all allegations and delete all images from their social media and have Demna release a joint statement saying that they never meant to post anything that eluded to child abuse . Ofcourse that wasn't enough because people are not dumb and they know luxury fashion houses have hundreds of people working on these shoots from the photographers ,modeling agency, the parents of these children, stylists , creative directors, ,makeup artists , editors etc. Etc. So your telling us not one of these so called professionals thought to themselves " hmmm this shoot is pretty weird ??? " and to add insult to injury apparently the company had a paid a large sum for these images .
Understandably the first apology goes over peoples heads and Balenciaga panics and deleted their entire instagram feed or archives it , who knows but damage already is done . It doesn't help that a month ago they cut ties with kanye over his alleged anti semitic remarks and now they look like such hypocrites. Mind you Kanye is a single person and Balenciga is multi million dollar brand owned by a multi billion dollar cooperation.
November 2022- Alessandro Michele steps down as Gucci creative director
Not even two days after the balenciaga fiasco went down , rumors go around that Kering had asked Michele for a new direction at Gucci moving forward and when he refused he was told to leave the brand . Alessandro Michele who was appointed as the brand's creative director back in 2015 , just days after Frida Giannini's sudden exit. He famously led the team that pulled together a menswear show in just five days and managed to bring the brand back from the dead . Lets face it Once Tom Ford left Gucci in 2004 to start its own label , the brand went into a downward spiral that would last a decade. I am certainly not the first person to say this but Giannini's run at Gucci was nothing but underwhelming and filled with Tom Ford rehashes in an attempt to earn favors from fans . Alessandro Michele appointment was a breath of a fresh air , the previously unknown designer who had been at gucci for a decade at that point and famously hired by Tom Ford himself , would bring along more than just designs.
Alessandro's greatest strength was world building and in the past 7 years he managed to bring Gucci back from obscurity to spotlight , thanks to 70s inspired looks and celebrity assisted campaigns such as ones with Harry Styles and Jared Leto . Francois-Henri Pinault, Kering's CEO would go on to say “The road that Gucci and Alessandro walked together over the past years is unique and will remain as an outstanding moment in the history of the house,”. Bare mind this is the same Pinault who forced Michele to change his creative direction to fit in more with the chinese consumer .
So what is actually wrong with Kering ?
Well for starters François-Henri Pinault is an out of touch old man who puts money over creativity any chance he gets . Doing so he has always played second fiddle to his rival Bernard Arnault of LVMH fame. If it's one thing that LVMH does better then kering is developing and nurturing artistic talent , an example of this is their LVMH Prize program that rewards young fashion designers and provides mentorship and funding , allowing the emergence of a new generation of designers. I have a feeling this kering fiasco is not ending and will be sure to report any further developments to this story , so stayed tuned and subscribe to the blog .