In one way, the answer to the above question is a definite yes. Yesterday Patrick Robinson, the brand’s creative director and a man whose arrival after stints at high-end brands like Paco Rabanne and Perry Ellis seemed to signal a new, fashion-forward direction for the mass market name, was ousted from the company.
“After spending the last three months in New York with the Creative team, I’ve made the decision to make a change within our Gap Adult design team,” said Pam Wallack, head of the Gap Global Creative Center in New York.
That’s pretty anodyne.
And thus ended Mr Robinson’s brief era – he joined in 2008 – where Gap engaged in mini runway shows, staged presentations for glossy magazine editors and last year actually sponsored the Met’s Costume Institute ball, dressing Diane Kruger, among other celebrities. Is this the end of that approach?
Though there was some buzz post-Met, it never coalesced into a specific image for the brand. Mr Robinson himself is relatively mediagenic, but whilst GAP at first seemed interested in the idea of a frontman to represent them, a classic strategy of high-end brands that use their designers to humanise their name and connect it to consumers, they never seemed fully committed to the approach.
So here’s a question: will 2010 have sounded the death knell of premium denim, or will it experience a revival in 2011? Should Diesel’s Renzo Rosso be quaking in his boots?
What’s a brand to do when it has a good idea and then everyone copies it? Accessorise, of course! So seems the conclusion, of H&M, which is embarking on a new project with Lanvin, Today, for example, a new, full collection video with serious production values has launched on the H&M home page starring, in no particular order, Lanvin designer Alber Elbaz, and famous models including Natasha Poly and Hannelore Knuts (among others. Take that, Target!
It’s a truism that high fashion brands have been slow to embrace the internet, and the reason they’ve been slow is that engaging in such a democratic medium means they ipso facto loose some control over their image. In a dialogue with lots of unknown consumers, those consumers can say anything! And then, other consumers can read what they say! And what they say might be not be what brands want other people to hear. And what they say might be not be what brands want other people to hear. Well, there’s a conversation currently going on in cyberspace that’s like their worst nightmare come to life — though (hear the sighs of relief) it has to do with a mass market company.
Two interesting new relationships popped up on the fashion radar on September 9, to be publicly consummated in November.