Hussein Chalayan joins Vionnet ahead of Paris store opening

Hussein Chalayan will work alongside Vionnet owner and creative director Goga Ashkenazi on the ready-to-wear collection, joining the existing senior design team of Albino D’Amato and Diego Dolcini.

“I’ve been an admirer of Hussein’s work for a long time. I see him as an artist, not just as a designer. In a way, he has a very architectural approach, which is also one of the qualities of Vionnet’s signatures. The approach he takes to each design is like a piece of art,” says Ashkenazi, who made her fortune in energy and construction in her native Kazakhstan.

Ashkenazi first hired Chalayan in 2014 to design Vionnet’s demi-couture line, ‘off the rack’ pieces with the intricate craftsmanship of haute couture, not to mention the price tags to match. The brand stopped showing the line in couture week because it was ‘financially straining. It did not make financial sense,” says Ashkenazi. However, demi-couture did continue and was shown privately to clients.

Vionnet has changed hands numerous times over the past 10 years. Ashkenazi bought the house in 2012, its centenary year, from Matteo Marzotto of the Italian fashion dynasty, who masterminded the Valentino sale to the Permira Group. Vionnet had been sold to Marzotto by Arnaud de Lummen in 2008, having relaunched the brand some 15 years after his father purchased it in 1988. Prior to this, the brand had laid dormant since its founder Madeleine Vionnet closed up shop in the late thirties.

Chalayan joins at an important point in the brand’s growth trajectory, just a couple of weeks before the opening of the Paris store on Rue Francois 1er, around the corner from the Paris flagships (maisons) of Chanel and Louis Vuitton. A New York store will follow, which Ashkenazi hopes will open before Christmas. The brand is in talks with potential licensees for new product categories, including eyewear and fragrances. The Vionnet Autumn/Winter 2015 collection is currently available at 100 points of sale worldwide.

adapted from BOF

Vionnet Fall Winter 2015 ad campaign