Mulling Over the New Dior Paradigm

Now that Marc Jacobs is in the running for the design job at Dior, the fashion world is wholeheartedly on board, as if there were never any question this is how the musical chairs would play out. After all, Louis Vuitton is arguably the most profitable brand in fashion history. Why wouldn’t LVMH chief Bernard Arnault and Dior boss Sidney Toledano want the same recipe, and indeed same chef, at Dior?

With that all but in the bag, the second part of the equation is proving less certain. Conventional wisdom has Céline‘s Phoebe Philo taking Jacobs’ place at Vuitton, perhaps while keeping her Céline post, but not everyone is convinced. Here’s why. It was no small—or inexpensive—feat to lure her to Céline and build an entirely new image for the house, a complete overhaul that included changing everything from the logo to store interiors. And that was only a short while ago. Furthermore, it was Philo’s prerequisite to relocate the Céline studio to London, where she and her her family live. It’s hard to imagine she’d consider picking up for Paris now.

Stylistically, too, it seems like something of a stretch. Philo is all about minimalism, whereas Louis Vuitton promotes layers of luxury and piled-on glamour. If Jacobs were to leave Vuitton, what the label would need more than anything is an art director or image-maker. Jacobs excels at this. And despite his public candor and ubiquity, he’s not known for having an inflated ego. Following John Galliano‘s forced exit from Dior, inflated egos are precisely what LVMH higher-ups don’t want.

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