The musical chairs of creative directors and fashion houses has never been more congested, and as of this week, there are more designers than the fingers on a hand in need of a new gig. Following Louis Vuitton's AW18 men's show in Paris on Thursday 18th January, Kim Jones, the artistic director of the French fashion house's menswear collections, will add his name to that list.
Jones' departure, announced via WWD, signals the end of an era for Louis Vuitton. For the past seven years, Jones, previously of British luxury goods label Dunhill, transformed Vuitton's men's line, adding to it his own personal flare for luxury fashion that cross-pollinates across high- and street-level trends. Jones was appointed by then-creative director Marc Jacobs in 2011, but his arguably strongest collections were those that happened most recently, from SS17 to now, which saw monogrammed chokers, a Supreme collaboration, and the revival of vintage motifs found on hundred-year-old trunks and cases.
"It has been a huge privilege to work with Kim," said Vuitton chairman and chief executive officer Michael Burke, in a statement confirming the news. "His ability to set trends is impeccable, and his talent and determination have ensured that Louis Vuitton is firmly placed as the leading brand in luxury men’s wear today. All of us who have been fortunate to work with Kim wish him continued success in his next venture." Considering Jones can be lauded as the mastermind behind some of the brand's most successful and mainstream collaborations, he's absolutely right. Jones echoed the statement in an Instagram post where he thanked his Vuitton team and collaborators throughout the years.
The jury is still out on his next move, but Jones' departure only adds to the rumours that've already circulated the industry pipeline, which include possible jumps to Versace or Burberry. As for his replacement, Off-White designer Virgil Abloh's name has been thrown about, though he dismisses the speculations. Until the aforementioned brands, including Vuitton, are sorted, die-hard Jones fans will no doubt spend the next season flocking to the nearest boutiques and re-sale shops to cop the lasting pieces of his historic work. And we'll be watching closely to see what he does next.