Will Kris Van Assche’s appointment Tuesday morning be the last round in LVMH’s game of musical chairs with its menswear labels? This new appointment was already expected since LVMH announced on Friday that Haider Ackermann would step down from Berluti. And on Tuesday morning, it was official: the Belgian designer Van Assche is in at Berluti and will present his first collection in January 2019 during men's fashion week.
Named head of Dior Homme back in 2008, Van Assche already had a tough act to follow. He had replaced the charismatic Hedi Slimane, who had rechristened the line from Christian Dior Monsieur to Dior Homme and turned it into a blockbuster on the runway and at the cash register.
Van Assche was up to the task, however, and held the prestige position for eleven years, winning the support and admiration of the Arnault family. When LVMH tapped Kim Jones as artistic director of Dior Homme in March, the French luxury giant took pains to make clear that Kris Van Assche would soon be tasked with a new mission.
“I have always wanted to build bridges between the savoir-faire, the heritage of a house and my clear-cut contemporary vision,” said Van Assche in a statement released Tuesday morning. “Antoine Arnault spoke to me of his ambitions for Berluti and it is with great pleasure that I accept this new challenge which fits perfectly with my own will and vision. I would also like to thank Mr Bernard Arnault for his renewed confidence. ”
The Parisian company was founded in 1895 by Italian boot maker Alessandro Berluti and bought in 1993 by LVMH. In 2005, it expanded its business to leather goods and then added ready-to-wear in 2011. The brand is meanwhile an international name and operates a network of 45 boutiques worldwide.
This larger scale for Berluti was first helmed by Alessandro Sartori as artistic director. He held the job for 5 years, followed by Haider Ackermann, but who only stayed for 18 months. While Ackermann’s work won critical acclaim, our sources have suggested that Antoine Arnault, eldest son of Bernard Arnault and CEO of Berluti, questioned Ackermann’s commitment to Berluti.
With this new appointment and reassignment to Van Assche, LVMH is sticking with one of its trusted designers.
“I am delighted to welcome Kris Van Assche to Berluti,” commented Antoine Arnault in the LVMH press release. “I have known him for several years, have always admired his work at Dior Homme and I am looking forward to working with him.”
Van Assche, who was able to increase revenues at Dior Homme with his Black Carpet line, will now try for a repeat at Berluti by building out both its casual and more tailored collections.
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