Fashion

They said/We said: Is Maxime Simoëns the next great French designer?

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Photography by Peter Stigter

Amidst the mass hysteria (how else could one describe it?) that was the Dior succession saga of 2011/2012, you may have heard the name of a little-known French couturier, Maxime Simoëns, thrown around. And while those rumours may have been totally unfounded, today’s announcement that LVMH would be investing in his eponymous line has made it crystal clear that his is one name to remember.

In a surprising turn of events, LVMH head honcho Bernard Arnault has invested a significant but undisclosed amount in the 27-year-old’s two-years-young label. And while Arnault is famous for treating the global luxury market as one gigantic game of Hungry Hungry Hippos (hint: LVMH=the hippo, everyone else=the balls), the mogul almost never invests in new labels.

Despite his young age, Simoëns is no stranger to the fashion world. He studied fashion at the famed École de la Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture and then apprenticed at Elie Saab, Jean Paul Gaultier, Balenciaga and—get this—Dior under Galliano. Not to mention his Maxime Simoëns line that shows during Paris Couture Week and his bevy of celebrity clients (mostly French) including Canadian Rachel McAdams.

Arnault must think the wunderkind has got some serious talent—and with his track record, can you blame him? This has people wondering if Simoëns is being readied to take the reins at one of LVMH’s more established labels. Could we see Simoëns at Givenchy post-Tisci? Or at Fendi post-Karl? Given this year’s intense, never-ending game of fashion musical chairs (Jil! Raf! Stefano! Hedi!), we can’t help but applaud Arnault’s foresight.

THEY SAID:

Fashionista: “If there’s anything significant to be gleaned from this acquisition, it’s that Simoëns is definitely one to watch.” [Fashionista]

The Cut: “Simoëns’ collection is currently carried at a few luxury stores in France, but with LVMH’s help, it’ll surely get more international marketing.” [The Cut]

Fashion Indie: “It seems Bernard Arnault wants to keep the fresh-faced fashion foal within claw’s reach should another head designer fall ever so publicly from grace.” [Fashion Indie]

WE SAID:

Bernadette Morra, editor-in-chief: I am not sure how we pronounce Maxime’s surname but we’d all better learn. Bernard Arnault doesn’t make any move without a long-term game plan. Maxime is definitely headed for bigger things.

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