(NEW YORK) Now that John Galliano has been officially ousted from the top creative spot at Dior—which he held for nearly 15 years—the logical question, of course, concerns his replacement. The usual heavyweights have already been floated—Alber Elbaz, Stefano Pilati—but sources in Paris are fingering Riccardo Tisci as the top candidate for the job. “[Bernard] Arnault needs to move quickly to put this behind the house,” says one source with business ties to LVMH. “Promoting from within [LVMH] is the logical choice.” The 36-year-old Tisci, currently creative director at LVMH-owned Givenchy, joined the house in 2005. A native of Tartano, Italy, he worked as a carpenter, delivery boy, and store clerk to fund his education at Central Saint Martins. Tisci graduated in 1999 and worked in-house for companies such as Coccapani and Puma before launching his eponymous collection in 2005 and landing the Givenchy position months later.
“When I arrived at Givenchy, I was a guy from nowhere,” Tisci told the Times’ Cathy Horyn in 2007.” Givenchy was kind of confused. Nobody knew what it meant anymore. I think now the press is beginning to understand what I’m doing.” Tisci’s haute couture sensibilities—and the increasingly glowing reviews of his couture collections shown biannually in Paris—make him the most qualified candidate for Dior, whose storied couture operation was founded in 1946. However, the Givenchy ready-to-wear and accessory business is much smaller than Dior’s, with the menswear representing about 30% of the business. Givenchy operates only 16 freestanding stores—5 in Europe, 5 in Saudi Arabia, 2 in Qatar, and one each in Bahrain, Malaysia, Dubai, and Tokyo—while Dior operates over 160, including 12 in China alone.
Another top contender: Marc Jacobs, the artistic director of Louis Vuitton since 1998. Vuitton’s business is significantly larger than Givenchy’s, and Jacobs’ notorious strength in the accessory category must look appealing to Arnault, who would no doubt like to elevate Dior handbags to the must-have level of Vuitton. But to displace Jacobs would rock the boat at a cornerstone of LVMH’s portfolio; that may not be a risk Arnault wants to take at this juncture. As usual: stay tuned for more updates.