When Saint Laurent Paris announced the introduction of Anthony Vaccarello as the new Creative Director of the brand following Hedi Slimane’s exit, my curiosity was piqued by a friend’s anecdote on Facebook.
Victoria, a former “ticket girl” at Lambert & Associates – a leading fashion office and trends spotter agency with clients such as Neiman Marcus or Bergdorf Goodman, commented on the nomination with a throwback to 2013.
“And then you remember yourself calling this guy a few years ago and hear him explain as calmly as possible that no he didn’t get my messages and has no idea what urgent matter I am talking about because he is alone and going crazy.”
The urgent matter was a seating issue for his upcoming show. As Victoria explained, the office scouts promising designers such as Vaccarello in 2013 and arranges for them to be seen by influential buyers. The other way around, department stores get an insightful update on what is going to break through in creativity and trends. Among the missions coordinated by the agency is the “ticket run”. Victoria was in charge of arranging seating plans for the show, and as one would expect, that is the most political and sensitive part of the Fashion Week Circus. Who gets front row? Who is going to cancel attendance to go grab a McDonald’s getaway? Who may be offended by this sudden change of plans?
Victoria’s comment reveals how fast and furious the fashion world can be. The big picture being within 3 years, a talented designer went from the struggles of independent label development to the pressure of a massive house’s legacy. In the details of the story, we can also witness a breathtaking disproportion between the investment necessary for a young designer label to develop (creative input, production management, PR support, sales pressure) and the actual scale of loneliness that one can experience.
With a whole industry looking at his work since 2010 and support provided, Anthony Vaccarello still felt alone at the helm of his label, hours before his shows. Will this experience help him coordinate the machinery that is Saint Laurent Paris?
Looking back at Hedi Slimane’s very specific habits as a director, we can only ask ourselves if his secret wasn’t that he mastered the loneliness of the designer so that it drove the brand forward.
While we wish Anthony Vaccarello all the success deserved at the helm of Saint Laurent Paris, we can’t help but be wary of the ongoing furiousness of designer’s life. At every level of the industry, it seems that they need more support, and not only from ticket girls.