Women's Wear Daily

The Outside View: Has an Obsession With Speed and Celebrity Killed the Creative Director?

In the not too distant past, if you were to have asked the chief executive officer of a luxury fashion brand how long it would take to see the results of a new creative director, he or she would have said a minimum of 18 months. In today’s terms, that’s a luxury because now, more than ever, time equals money. Raf Simons left Calvin Klein with six months still to serve on his contract, while some banks rated Burberry’s stock as risky, months before chief creative officer Riccardo Tisci’s debut collection even hit store floors. Brioni has changed creative directors twice in two years, with Justin O’Shea departing after six months and his successor, Nina-Maria Nitsche, staying less than one year. Time is no longer on a new designer’s side. So has this obsession with speed killed the traditionally trained designer? Delivering for a fashion house takes time, and historically, designers were afforded enough time to settle in and establish their handwriting. When I worked with Missoni in Milan, it was a joy to immerse myself for days in their archives, absorbing the history of the brand. I followed up with visits to the family home on the lakes north of Milan to meet everyone at

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