Style stars to look out for

Style stars to look out for

JOHN GALLIANO AT MAISON MARGIELA

Who: John Galliano is a name in the fashion world that is fraught with controversy. A notable talent whose Central Saint Martins graduation collection was snapped up by London boutique Browns, he rose up the industry ranks to become creative director of French houses Givenchy and Christian Dior.

However, the designer, whose opulent, romantic style was underscored by his flamboyant get-ups, fell from grace in a similarly dramatic fashion.

He was fired from Dior and faced criminal charges after he was caught making anti-Semitic remarks in a drunken and medicated haze in 2011.

In the four years since, Galliano has largely stayed out of the limelight, working on his rehabilitation, with the only fashion-related activity being a short three-week stint as a visiting designer at Oscar de la Renta in 2013.

It made news when Galliano, 54, was announced as the new creative director of Maison Margiela last October, marking his return to the business.

Where: Maison Martin Margiela (the brand has since dropped the "Martin") is an avant garde fashion house named after its Belgian designer-founder, who was notorious for his desire to remain anonymous.

He left the brand in 2009, after the label was bought by fashion entrepreneur Renzo Rosso's Only The Brave group, which is also behind brands such as Marni and Viktor & Rolf.

Why: The appointment of Galliano at Margiela initially left some people scratching their heads due to the difference in style and aesthetic.

However, others have lauded the move as a savvy one by Rosso, who has brought an unprecedented amount of publicity to the quiet brand.

Galliano's first show for the brand (pictured) in London debuted to eager anticipation on Jan 12. While the designer did not break new ground, he showed off his chops.

Fashion critic Colin McDowell writes in a Business Of Fashion article: "This was unmistakably John Galliano at full creative stretch doing what he alone does correctly; blending the highest technical skills and taste to create looks that are not only sexy but also ethereal." It will be interesting to see whether Galliano - who appeared at the end of the show in an all-white Margiela lab coat - will delve into new territory.

PETER COPPING AT OSCAR DE LA RENTA

Who: A soft-spoken Englishman, Peter Copping is a designer's designer who has honed his skills in various fashion houses after his graduation from Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art.

He worked at French knitwear label Sonia Rykiel and spent more than a decade at Louis Vuitton, where he eventually rose to womenswear studio director under creative director Marc Jacobs.

In 2009, he joined Nina Ricci as creative director, with his work earning positive reviews over how he balanced the romantic legacy of Nina Ricci with a modern wearability. He has previously said, in an interview with Urban, that his own aesthetic is about combining softness and lightness with structure and tailoring.

Copping, 48, was for a while rumoured to be succeeding Oscar de la Renta at his eponymous label before the announcement was made last October, a week before de la Renta died.

Where: Dominican-American Oscar de la Renta was a ladies' man - not in the romantic sense, but in a sartorial one. The designer dressed first ladies, celebrities and women who lunch in luxurious, feminine clothing.

Gowns were an area the fashion brand excelled in - with their unabashed femininity. The unexpected death of de la Renta from cancer marks the first designer transition for the label.

Why: Copping's move to de la Renta has been widely praised by the industry as one which makes stylistic sense.

Nina Ricci and de la Renta both have strong, feminine aesthetics which Copping will surely build on.

While hand-picked by the founder himself, the designer's challenges will include figuring out how to keep the brand evolving and putting his own stamp on the house, without alienating its current loyal customer base. His first show for the brand will be the fall/winter 2015 collection for next month.

NADEGE VANHEE-CYBULSKI AT HERMES

Who: Nadege Vanhee-Cybulski comes from the ranks of unknown designers toiling behind the scenes at well-known brands.

The 36-year-old Frenchwoman, who studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, was part of the design studio of Belgian label Maison Martin Margiela, before joining French brand Celine. In 2011, she joined The Row, the luxe designer brand started by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, which has been feted by the fashion establishment.

Last July, Hermes announced that Vanhee-Cybulski would be the next artistic director of women's ready-to-wear, replacing designer Christophe Lemaire, who would be spending more time on his own brand.

Where: Designer label Hermes, a bastion of luxury, has been a house known for its subtle designs with rich detailing. Outgoing designer Lemaire has continued that tradition, with wearable and sophisticated clothing.

While less recognisable than Hermes' accessories and leather goods, its ready-to-wear serves as a good complement for the brand.

Why: In a statement announcing Vanhee-Cybulski's appointment, Hermes chief executive Axel Dumas, in addition to highlighting her track record, singled out the fact that she would be working full-time for Hermes. Perhaps the brand wanted somebody singularly focused on Hermes, as opposed to Lemaire, who worked on his own line simultaneously.

Aesthetically, Vanhee-Cybulski looks to be a great match. Margiela, Celine and The Row are all famously minimalist.

Products from The Row, like those from Hermes, also hover in the ultra-high-end range. Edgy is not what Hermes is looking for, so her challenge would be to put her stamp on the brand's wares, yet be able to stick closely to the house's look.

Her first show for the brand will be for the fall/winter 2015 collection, which debuts in March.

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