The list includes Raf Simons’ replacement at Calvin Klein.
The past year forced fashion into an ‘existential crisis’ with lower sales due to the pandemic and many brands suspending production and advertising. This prompted the some fashion houses to shift focus innovation and sustainability— and tapped the relevant talents to do so.
Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert for Swarovski
In an interview with Vogue, Engelbert, a former model, says that she has already been committed to heading creative direction for the 126-year-old Austrian brand’s B2B division since 2016. “I was focusing on the areas of ingredient branding, design, and content curation then.” As she continues her involvement with the company, she is taking the next step. She will be overseeing all creative aspects over every product category for Swarovski, from jewelry to stemware.
The role’s fashion aspect comes naturally to Engelbert, given her experience as a consultant in the field. When it comes to handling the rest of the product ranges, she has delved into learning the ropes. “There are incredible people making magic happen. It was mind-blowing for me to deep-dive into the craftsmanship and incredible competencies Swarovski holds,” she says. “I’m very happy that I have been given the magic wand now.”
Since Engelbert’s appointment, Swarovski has updated its brand identity with a new logo and concept stores in the key global markets North America, Europe, and APAC, including recent locations in Paris and New York. Dubbed as The Swarovski Wonderlab, the new store concept offers a sensorial retail space enhanced by vibrant colors, textures, and metallic sculptures.
Marco Tomasetta for Montblanc
The German brand has had Zaim Kamal as creative director since 2013, but will have the Italian designer at the wheel starting this year. Having worked at Givenchy, Prada, and Louis Vuitton, Tomasetta has obtained extensive leather goods experience. Montblanc, of course, is known for its luxury writing instruments, a vital tool in the Europeo di Design graduate’s craft.
“As a designer, writing and drawing are the starting points of any design process, which is why I was immediately drawn to Montblanc – fusing tradition with pioneering design,” Tomasetta says in Montblanc’s announcement of his new role.
Nicolas Baretzki, CEO of Montblanc, revealed to WWD that he expects “a more global creative vision for the brand, rather than a category approach.” This is an understandable given Tomasetta’s experience spanning across prominent luxury brands. In line with the global vision, the new creative director will oversee Montblanc’s teams in Germany, Switzerland, and Italy from Paris.
Gabriela Hearst for Chloé
Following Natacha Ramsay-Levi’s exit of her four-year stint as the French fashion house’s creative director comes Hearst’s designation to the post. In the official announcement of Hearst’s appointment, Chloé CEO Riccardo Bellini emphasizes that they “share the conviction that we all have a responsibility to participate in the shaping of a sustainable future actively and look forward to jointly pushing Chloé to new heights.”
Hearst is known for her eponymous brand that applies sustainability as a critical component. Her dedication to sustainability aligns with Chloé’s newfound commitment to the cause— in 2019, the French label established an environmental profit and loss account, setting a roadmap through 2025 to reduce its eco-impact.
The Uruguayan- American designer digitally presented her first collection last month through Paris Fashion Week Autumn-Winter 2021. The set was four times more sustainable than the previous year’s collection— non-biodegradable materials such as polyester were eliminated and replaced with reused and organic denim, silk, and cashmere. In a Forbes article about her inaugural show, Hearst expressed one of her style principles, saying “new isn’t always better.”
Jessica Lomax for Calvin Klein
In December 2020, Calvin Klein named Jessica Lomax as its executive vice president, global head of design. Nike’s former creative director will lead the American fashion house’s global design strategy and provide creative direction. Lomax’s entrance to Calvin Klein is prompted by Raf Simons’ abrupt exit, eight months before his three-year contract was set to end.
“Jessica excels in creating clear product visions that are rooted in our unique brand DNA and connected to what our consumer aspires to today,” says Calvin Klein CEO Cheryl Abel-Hodges. Prior to Nike, Lomax worked for Puma and consulted for several sports and fashion brands, making her expertise relevant as Calvin Klein dives into the activewear market.
Abel-Hodges adds that she is extremely confident the brand will become even more consumer centric under Lomax’s leadership. Lomax has led sustainability initiatives at Nike, including Nike Purpose. We can expect the same eco-friendly movements from Calvin Klein, driven by the British designer’s know-how.