Kim Jones to Exit Louis Vuitton, Reviving Speculation About What’s Next


In a brief statement confirming the news, Michael Burke, chairman and chief executive of Louis Vuitton, credited Mr. Jones with some of the brand’s most successful projects and collaborations. He did not name a successor but the news release said his replacement “would be announced in due course.”

“It has been a huge privilege to work with Kim,” Mr. Burke said. “His ability to set trends is impeccable, and his talent and determination have ensured that Louis Vuitton is firmly placed as the leading brand in luxury men’s wear today. All of us who have been fortunate to work with Kim wish him continued success in his next venture.”

Backstage at his Off-White show on Wednesday, the designer Virgil Abloh said he had not yet heard about Mr. Jones’ departure, but he called him a friend and mentor figure.

“People think about the mix of sportswear and fashion now — he distinctly did that while a whole industry wasn’t really focused on sportswear,” Mr. Abloh said.

Less than 24 hours after news of Mr. Jones’ exit broke, rumors that Mr. Abloh was considered a possible candidate for the position at Louis Vuitton were being bandied about, but Mr. Abloh said that he had “no clue” about that.

Asked about Mr. Abloh, a spokesman for Louis Vuitton said that there were “no additional details to share at this time.”

On his Instagram account, Mr. Jones thanked the brand for “7 wonderful years;” Marc Jacobs, “for giving me the opportunity to be here in the first place;” a series of LVMH executives; and his studio staff. (Mr. Jacobs was Vuitton’s artistic director when Mr. Jones joined the brand.)

Mr. Jones’s departure from the flagship brand of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s largest luxury group by sales, kept front-row gossip percolating on Wednesday, the first full day of Paris’ men’s fashion week. Mr. Jones’s name had already come up, alongside that of Riccardo Tisci, in September as a possible successor to Donatella Versace at Versace. He has also been mentioned as a potential designer for Burberry, which, in October, announced that Christopher Bailey, its president and chief creative officer, would step down at the end of 2018, after 17 years at the brand.

In a trading call update Wednesday, Burberry’s chief financial officer, Julie Brown, said the company would not comment on speculation about specific individuals. Versace could not be reached for comment.

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