So after all the chat about the current economic situation driving a polarisation of price-points – either super-high-end luxury or cheapo Uniqlo – Euromonitor has come out with some research that begs to differ.
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.
Today I had a very nice conference call with Andrew Rosen, President of Link Theory Holding, the New York-based Group that is quietly positioning itself at the contemporary market’s answer to LVMH, and Olivier Theyskens, erstwhile long-haired high-fashion darling, because the duo was announcing a new partnership. Mr Theyskens is going to become Artistic Director of the brand Theory. This is a foray into unknown territory for both, as Theory has never had a “face” or presiding designer before, and Theyskens – well, let’s just say in the past he has occupied a very luxurious niche.
Fashion darling Olivier Theyskens, a Belgian designer with a strong physical resemblance to a Hollywood version of Jesus in Galilee, who was latterly attached to Nina Ricci and Rochas but fired from both despite critical kudos (something to do with sales), has resurfaced. His new home? American contemporary brand Theory, where he has a new collection entitled – surprise! – Theyskens’ Theory.