Some of your favourite fashion houses are about to see a major shake-up – here's what's happening

Everything you need to know

Virginie Viard at Chanel Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2020 show
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Fashion is a fickle beast at the best of times, but it’s never been more in flux than now. Just last week, Chanel announced the departure of Virginie Viard – the latest in the many comings and goings of creative directors.

This slightly dizzying game of fashion musical chairs began at the tail-end of 2022, when Kering confirmed that creative director Alessandro Michele would be leaving Gucci. Many were shocked; after all, his seven-year tenure has been transformative – not just in terms of the house itself but in pioneering an eccentric, kitsch aesthetic that transcended the Gucci catwalk.

As it turns out, fashion’s reset had just begun; in the last couple of years, some of the most iconic luxury houses have appointed new creative directors, rerouting established names and crowning emerging talent. From Chloé to Alexander McQueen, Valentino to Lacoste, everyone’s at it. With all the changes, it’s easy to lose track – that’s why we’ve compiled a handy guide to the great fashion switch-up, below.

Chanel

Karl Lagerfeld and Virginie Viard at the Chanel Spring/Summer 2019 show

Karl Lagerfeld and Virginie Viard at the Chanel Spring/Summer '19 show

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Current creative director: TBC

Former creative director: Virginie Viard (2019 – 2024)

Rumoured replacements: Hedi Slimane, Sarah Burton, Phoebe Philo, Marc Jacobs

Chanel is yet to announce a replacement for creative director Virginie Viard, whose departure from the house was confirmed last week. The rumour mill is swirling with names of potential successors, including Hedi Slimane (currently at Celine), Sarah Burton (formerly at Alexander McQueen) and Phoebe Philo, who launched her eponymous brand in September.

Viard, who first joined Chanel in 1987, took the reins of the house when her mentor – and the house’s longstanding creative director – Karl Lagerfeld passed away in 2019. It’s no mean feat following in the footsteps of one of fashion’s most celebrated (and controversial) designers and though Viard’s directorship has drawn some criticism, many agree she treated the house’s hallowed codes with grace.

Chloé

Chemena Kamali at Chloe Fall/Winter 2024-2025 show

Chemena Kamali at the Chloé Autumn/Winter '24 show

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Current creative director: Chemena Kamali (2023 – present)

Former creative director: Gabriela Hearst (2020 – 2023)

In October 2023, Chemena Kamali took the helm at Chloé, whose former creative directors include Gabriela Hearst, Clare Waight Keller, Phoebe Philo, Stella McCartney and Karl Lagerfeld. This isn’t the German-born designer and Central Saint Martins alum’s first time at Chloé, having worked as part of Philo’s team and later, as Design Director, under Clare Waight Keller. Most recently, she was Women’s Ready to Wear Design Director for Anthony Vaccarello at Saint Laurent.

‘My heart has always been Chloé’s,’ Kamali said at the time of her appointment. ‘Returning feels natural and very personal. I hope to capture the emotional connection and spirit of Chloé for today.’

Kamali’s connection to the much-lauded ‘old Chloé’ is undeniable. Her first collection for the house, which debuted at Paris Fashion Week in February, felt equal parts nostalgic and refreshing, delivering the effortless femininity Chloé has been known for – but in a fresh way.

Givenchy

Matthew Williams at Givenchy Spring/Summer 2024 show

Matthew Williams at the Givenchy Spring/Summer '24 show

(Image credit: Matthew Williams at the Givenchy Spring/Summer '24 show)

Current creative director: TBC

Former creative director: Matthew Williams (2020 – 2024)

Rumoured replacements: Hedi Slimane, Sarah Burton, Phoebe Philo, Marc Jacobs

In January, Matthew Williams left Givenchy, leaving the position of creative director up for grabs. Williams’ career saw him designing accessories with Kim Jones for Dior and costumes for Lady Gaga, before joining Givenchy in 2020. He continues to run his own label, 1017 ALYX 9SM.

As for a successor, all eyes are on Simon Porte Jacquemus. The reason for the rumours? Just two days after Williams’ forthcoming departure was announced, the Jacquemus founder posted a photo of Hubert de Givenchy’s office to his personal Instagram account. Time will tell.

Alexander McQueen

Sean McGirr at Alexander McQueen Autumn/Winter '24 show

Alexander McQueen Autumn/Winter '24 show, Seán McGirr's first for the house

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Current creative director: Seán McGirr (2023 – present)

Former creative director: Sarah Burton (2010 – 2023)

Alexander McQueen shook things up with the appointment of Seán McGirr as Creative Director in October. Having worked as Head of Ready-to-Wear at JW Anderson, with stints at Dries Van Noten and Uniqlo, this is the Irish designer’s first creative directorship – a bold move for the house and its parent company, Kering.

The Autumn/Winter ‘24 show was McGirr’s first for the house and paid reference to The Birds, Lee McQueen’s Spring 1995 collection, from the gritty venue (a disused warehouse on the edge of Paris) to the sense of constriction in the clothing itself. Considering McGirr only had a couple of months to prepare, it was a promising start.

McGirr succeeds Sarah Burton, who spent a total of 26 years at the house – including 14 at its helm, following Lee McQueen’s tragic death in 2010.

Lacoste

Pelagia Kolotouros at the Lacoste Autumn/Winter '24 show

Pelagia Kolotouros at the Lacoste Autumn/Winter '24 show

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Current creative director: Pelagia Kolotouros (2023 – present)

Former creative director: Louise Trotter (2018 – 2023)

Staged at Paris’s iconic Stade Roland Garros, Lacoste’s Autumn/Winter ‘24 show was a celebration of sizeable proportions. And rightly so – this was the first collection from Pelagia Kolotouros, who was made creative director of the Swiss-owned, French brand a year earlier.

After graduating from Parsons Design School, Kolotouros held roles at Adidas, The North Face and Calvin Klein, so she knows a thing or two about contemporary and sportswear brands with rich heritage.

Lacoste’s creative director role was formerly occupied by British designer Louise Trotter, who has since transplanted to Carven.

Valentino

Alessandro Michele at Gucci SS17 show

Alessandro Michele at the Gucci Spring/Summer '17 show

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Current creative director: Alessandro Michele (2024 – present)

Former creative director: Pierpaolo Piccoli (2008 – 2024)

Having mourned his departure from Gucci, Alessandro Michele fans were likely pleased to hear about the designer’s appointment at Valentino. It’s been a long time coming – Michele stepped down from Gucci in November 2022, and his latest gig was only announced in March of this year. Needless to say, maximalists everywhere wait for his debut collection with bated breath.

Michele replaces Pierpaolo Piccoli, who worked at the legendary French fashion house for 25 years, helming it for 16. 'Not all stories have a beginning or an end, some live a kind of eternal present that shines so bright that it won’t produce any shadows,' Piccoli's departing statement read.

Gucci

Sabato De Sarno at the Gucci Cruise 2025 show

Sabato De Sarno at the Gucci Cruise '25 show

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Current creative director: Sabato de Sarno (2023 – present)

Former creative director: Alessandro Michele (2015 – 2023)

At either end of 2023, Kering ushered two relatively unknown, male designers into the prestigious creative director positions at Gucci and Alexander McQueen, respectively. The first mic-drop moment? Sabato de Sarno’s appointment as creative director at Gucci in January, followed by Seán McGirr joining Alexander McQueen in December.

De Sarno may not be as well-known as some of his contemporaries but he certainly has the design chops to qualify him for such a position. After cutting his teeth at Prada and Dolce & Gabbana, he spent 13 years heading up the design studio at Valentino.

Considering his predecessor is fashion darling Alessandro Michele (often credited with reinventing the house of Gucci), he has some big shoes to fill. But, as they say, a change is as good as rest.

Carven

Louise Trotter at the Carven Autumn/Winter 2024

Louise Trotter at the Carven Autumn/Winter 2024 show

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Current creative director: Louise Trotter (2023 – present)

Carven was due a renaissance and Louise Trotter, who was made Creative Director in early 2023, is doing just that. Founded in 1945 by Marie Louise Carven, the Parisian house has gone through various iterations, peaking in popularity in the mid-aughts under the directorship of Guillaume Henry.

Well, it’s the house’s time again; Trotter, who left Lacoste last year and formerly spent nine years at Joseph, has so far outputted two excellent collections (Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter ‘24), setting the tone for a new, more confident Carven.

‘I feel honoured to write a new chapter for Carven: a youthful French house that to me embodies a spirit of freedom, joy and a confident femininity,’ said Trotter at the time of her appointment.

Natalie Hughes
Fashion Editor

Natalie Hughes is Fashion Editor at Marie Claire UK. She has worked as a fashion journalist and content consultant for 16 years, crafting copy and content for magazines and brands including Harper's Bazaar, Elle, Net-a-Porter, Who What Wear, Matches, Glamour, and more.