For a regular fashion fan, the decision to depart from fashion houses like Dior, Gucci, or Givenchy may sound insane, but the head designers of the top brands have no fear. Their vision and passion have had a huge impact on the fashion world, but quite often this isn’t enough for top talents.
The fashion industry is marked by scandals revolving around models, diets, and food disorders. Designers have their own role in fashion scandals, since their decisions to quit working for famous fashion houses turn into world news instantaneously. While for some, the development of their own label has become a top priority, others had to face the ruthless rules of the corporate world and decreasing profits.
The following list reveals the top 12 designers who left the greatest fashion houses for a vast range of reasons.
Over his career, the Belgian fashion designer was a creative director of Rochas, Nina Ricci, and Theory fashion houses. The fashion world loves his impeccable style, and his announcement about leaving Nina Ricci came as a big surprise. The lack of information about the split put a lot of rumors on the fashion stage. After a short lull, Olivier was announced as Theory’s new artistic director.
Currently, Theyskens is working on his private label, although he discourages fashion students from ever attempting to enter this world. In an interview, Olivier says that the fashion industry is saturated with so many names and brands, that people can’t take anymore. According to him, fashion students have to find another way to express their talent.
While most designers quit fashion houses after disagreements and public disputes, Raf Simons and Dior split with warm feelings after more than three years of cooperation. The Belgian fashion designer replaced John Galliano after he was fired by Dior.
After years devoted to other fashion brands, starting from Jil Sanders, and ending with Dior, Simons decided to put his efforts elsewhere. The amicable departure is a sign that Raf Simons will try to allegedly develop and expand his own private label.
Austrian fashion designer Helmut Lang established the fashion brand in 1986. In less than 20 years, Lang’s name became a synonym of strong style, dominant black and white colors, and street runway shows. Lang is the person that turned jeans into haute couture. In 1999, Lang sold 51 percent of his company to Prada in an attempt to improve profits. Just six years later, he left the company that still carried his name.
Currently, Helmut Lang (the designer) looks happy with his new vocation – art. The famous designer is now a sculptor working on a different type of “collection.”
Jil Sander is one of the best known female designers in the fashion world. The German designer is popular for her minimalist approach. Since the decision to sell a major part of her fashion brand to Prada, Sander has experienced multiple turbulent years.
She quit Prada in 2000 after a strong disagreement with chief executive Patrizio Bertelli. Sander came back in 2003 after her brand registered a big net loss. The successful cooperation between Sander and Bertelli was short. One year later, the German designer quit Prada (and her own label) again. Her last return to the fashion brand was in February 2012 after the creative director quit. Sander left Prada for the third and last time in October 2013 because of personal reasons.
Gucci’s creative director Frida Giannini quitting the fashion brand was a long-time speculated topic in the fashion world. When she finally took the decision, everybody was surprised. The Italian designer was a creative director of the company for more than nine years.
Giannini left the brand with her partner Patrizio di Marco, former Gucci CEO. He made it clear that in both instances, it wasn’t their will to discontinue working with Gucci. The departure of Giannini and di Marco coincides with the appointment of the company’s new CEO – Marco Bizzarri.
The best menswear designer (according to GQ) spent more than three years in Balenciaga, but the cooperation eventually came to an end. Wang has won numerous awards for his fashion ideas and became one of the most popular designers in the world.
While the two sides announced the separation without providing additional details, the huge success of Wang’s private label could be the main reason for the designer’s departure. Currently, the American designer is ready to expand his eponymous label, and to open his own stores.
Donna Karan’ decision to resign as a designer for her own brand became one of the biggest news in the world of fashion in 2015. The iconic American brand has long been a symbol of the style of American working women. There were rumors about problems between Karan and the parent company LVMH, but for a long period of time, the famous designer managed to keep the balance.
After she sold her company to LVMH, Karan started a new brand. Urban Zen is the new passion of the American designer, who will devote most of her time to it.
For 16 years, American designer Marc Jacobs was the creative director of one of the most recognizable fashion brands – Louis Vuitton. The designer quit the fashion house with an emotional show in Paris in 2013. The main aim of his resignation was to focus on his own brand.
Over the years, Jacobs has reportedly had problems with drug addiction. Eventually, he managed to recover.
It’s also interesting to point out that while he’s one of the most amazing fashion talents of the century, the American designer has had a difficult time with Instagram. He shared publicly a nude photo taken in his closet, intended for a private message.
After 14 years as the head designer for Lanvin, creative director Alber Elbaz quit the fashion company. Elbaz is known for his sensual, feminine designs and ballerina flats. The surprising resignation came after the designer and Lanvin’s management strongly disagreed with each other on key issues. Lanvin’s management accused Elbaz of lacking creative ideas.
The statement came as a shock for both Elbaz and employees of the brand. Over 300 Lanvin employees showed support for the now ex-designer and demanded explanations about the departure. Alber Elbaz also found justice on Instagram, getting support from regular users of the social network and even celebrities.
For more than 10 years, Tom Ford worked on making Gucci one of the most profitable and recognizable brands across the world. The fall 2004 collection was the last one that the American fashion designer made for the famous Italian brand.
Ford quit working for Gucci after disagreements with the parental company PPR. Off the record, the problem between the two sides stemmed from disagreements over the creative development of the brand. Ford left the company, together with chief executive Domenico De Sole. Currently, the two are managing Tom Ford’s label, and the fashion designer has also worked on a career as a film director.
Although he was never trained in design, Gaultier ranks among the greatest fashion masterminds of our century. The world will never forget Madonna’s iconic bra created by Jean Paul. His spectacular shows will be included in the fashion textbooks and explored by generations of students to come.
The iconic fashion designer who influenced hundreds of designers announced that he’s ready to quit the industry because it doesn’t reflect reality. “We're making clothes that aren't destined to be worn,” he says. Despite this statement, Gaultier will focus on creating a haute couture line.
British designer John Galliano left a special mark on fashion history. His special haute couture collections shocked and surprised both fashion enthusiast and everyday people. Galliano’s rise began in Givenchy, where he became the first British designer to head the French fashion house.
The big split between the great designer and Givenchy came after Galliano was filmed shouting anti-Semitic remarks in a Paris bar. Dior fired Galliano and the fashion world stood against him. However, the genius designer has recovered from the huge scandal as the creative director of Maison Margiela fashion house.