For M’s spring issue, Style.com deputy editor Matthew Schneier considered the recharging of the fashion guard in 2013.
In fashion as in any other arena, history casts a long shadow. History confers authority, which is one reason to trumpet it (Prada dal 1913, say). In the face-off between fashion (fickle, changeable) and style (stable, constant), history sides with the latter. But fashion houses, like fashion designers, age, and history is not necessarily a perpetuation of quality. Classics get dusty. Eminences go gris. The care and keeping of a fashion house sometimes calls for fresh blood. Resurrection, rejuvenation, reconceptions abound. Transfusions are available. Reboot is rampant.
The great houses of Paris and Milan—even the younger houses of fashion’s start-up capital, New York—have swapped their iron-clamped doors for revolving ones.
Labels live on long after their namesakes have departed, whether they’ve left the mortal plane or merely the building; others die for a time before springing, like Lazarus, back to life. The fashion calendar is more or less a directory of the old turned new: in New York, Calvin Klein; in Milan, Gucci, Brioni, Berluti; in Paris, Carven, Kenzo, Valentino, and Vuitton. They can change dynastically (Cavalli, Missoni) or diffusely. They can boot up (Dior Homme, born under Hedi Slimane in 2001) and then reboot (born again under Kris Van Assche, 2007). This is to name only a select few. Time and space are in short supply; reboots are not.