>> This week seems to the week of designer appointments: Olivier Theyskens partnering with Theory, Christophe Lemaire replacing Jean Paul Gaultier at Hermes, Giles Deacon taking over at Emanuel Ungaro, and now Sarah Burton, head of womenswear design at Alexander McQueen, has been named creative director at the label.
Burton had worked with Lee Alexander McQueen since 1996 and was promoted to her current position at the brand in 2000. She was saddled with completing McQueen’s final collection — the 16 pieces of which were 80 percent finished at the time of the designer's death. Burton said in a statement of her appointment: “The creation of modern, beautifully crafted clothes was at the heart of Lee’s vision. I intend to stay true to his legacy.”
>> This morning, Francois-Henri Pinault, president of PPR announced: "The Alexander McQueen trademark will live on. This would be the best tribute that we could offer to him." Pinault noted that the decision was made quickly after McQueen's death, and said he was confident the house continues to hold "very important potential." Sales of McQueen clothes are reported to have surged 1,400 percent in the last week.
Robert Polet, president of Gucci Group, confirmed that the Fall 2010 collection the designer was finishing before his death will be shown at Paris Fashion Week next month. Polet said he spoke to McQueen a few weeks ago, and the two men decided that they had "transitioned from being the name of a designer to putting in place the building blocks of a brand." He recalled McQueen telling him: "That means that will be my legacy. That's something I will always leave behind."
>> Alexander McQueen Samples Recalled, Speculation on Company's Future Rises —This morning, Alexander McQueen's director of communications sent out an urgent message requesting all samples be sent back "asap" because securing "all items and garments from current and past collections" is their "immediate priority." Gucci Group remains mum on the future of McQueen the company — save CEO Robert Polet's emailed statement on the subject, which read: "What I can say is that there is a team at Alexander McQueen that has enormous talent and energy and passion that Lee was extremely proud of and I am too." A number of articles are popping up, citing luxury consultants and analysts who find the designer and his brand too inextricably linked for the company to survive without him. Noted one: "I think PPR will use this as a pretext to walk away from the McQueen brand, which has never really made any money anyway. The label just hasn't been around for long enough to be able to survive in the long term now that he is no longer there. A brand needs to have a history to live on in these circumstances and Alexander McQueen's brand doesn't have enough of a history. It's comparatively recent and its roots are not deep enough." [Heard on the Runway, Bloomberg, Times UK, AP]
PPR Update: Tomas Maier Recycling Unused Material for Bottega Shoes, YSL Reporting $24M Loss, and Pinault "Impressed" With Son
>> Even designers are shopping the closet when it comes to piecing together their latest collection. Fortune's Peter Gumbel writes in his new profile on Francois-Henri Pinault of PPR: "All the brands have been scouring for ways to save cash. Hiring and salaries have been frozen since last September. Bonuses for this year have been halved too. Inventiveness has become the order of the day."
Robert Polet, CEO of PPR's Gucci Group, illustrates with a story of how he found Tomas Maier on the floor of Bottega Veneta's headquarters in New York City with his shoe manager last November, going through a pile of books filled with leather and skin samples. Fortune relates: "They were checking how much of each material they had in stock, planning to use it up in the next collections. 'I left the room and thought, Wow,' Polet says. 'Finding ways to manage down inventory has almost become a sport.'"
A full gallery of the event below, including plenty of faces that are used to being in front of the camera: Anna Wintour, Naomi Campbell, Franca Sozzani . . .
*image: source, source