kim jones is leaving louis vuitton

With the autumn/winter 18 men's show scheduled to be his last, the rumour mill suggests he'll move to Burberry or Versace.

by Steve Salter
17 October 2018, 3:52am

In the after-party hours of the first day of this new season of Paris men's shows, WWD confirmed the rumour that had been whispered since last September -- Kim Jones would be exiting his position as men's artistic director at Louis Vuitton. In the seven years since his appointment, the Hammersmith-born, Paris-based CSM-graduated talent has reinvented and repositioned the luxury house's menswear offering as the one-to-watch.

This one-to-watch tag has followed Jones ever since his graduate MA collection was bought in its entirety by John Galliano back in 2002 and he kickstarted London menswear with his LFW on-schedule debut in 2003 before moving to Paris the following year. While designing his eponymous line for eight seasons, he worked behind-the-scenes for Alexander McQueen, Mulberry, Hugo Boss and Umbro. Then, after three successful years as Dunhill's creative director and two Menswear Designer of the Year awards later, he moved to Louis Vuitton and made the menswear wing of this luxury house a home fit for the 21st century.

“It has been a huge privilege to work with Kim,” said Michael Burke, Louis Vuitton’s chairman and chief executive officer, in a release that followed the announcement. "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 menswear today. All of us who have been fortunate to work with Kim wish him continued success in his next venture." Jones does set trends but he also goes beyond that, he creates movements. Long before his hyper-hype collaboration with Supreme, Jones has authentically blurred the boundaries between the two previously distinct worlds of luxury and streetwear as he spearheaded the high-low fashion revolution. “The designer that I always wanted in the modern industry is Kim Jones, he is the epitome of high fashion and streetwear,” Virgil Abloh -- one of the many names floated on social media as Jones' replacement -- explained in a head-to-head interview for SHOWstudio.

"Before the terms streetwear or luxury existed, he was bringing street culture ideas through the high fashion system.” Many other have followed but Jones still leads the way. This is why we're all excited to see which turn this intrepid explorer and avid researcher takes next. There has been talk of Versace and we can all daydream about him losing himself in Gianni's archives. More recently, Burberry has been mentioned and if this British house wishes to continue down the streetwear-infused direction that the September collection heralded, who better to push the check to new heights?

Well, what a way to kickstart a new season of the champagne-fuelled guessing game that see the fashion set attempt to predict the next round of creative director musical chairs. With empty seats at Burberry, Céline and now Louis Vuitton men's, not forgetting the circling label-less Hedi Slimane, Riccardo Tisci, Stefano Pilati, Alber Elbaz, the following weeks and months will be filled with opinion-sharing before the decisions made. So, who should move where?