Moschino today announced Buenos Aires-born Adrian Appiolaza as its new creative director. The highly-regarded Argentine, 51, is understood to have recently moved to Milan from Paris in order to fine-tune the first collection to be shown under his name later this month. Appiolaza’s appointment at Moschino makes him the successor of the Italian designer Davide Renne, who died suddenly in November only 10 days after starting in the role.
Massimo Ferretti, executive chairman of Moschino’s owner Aeffe Group, said in a statement: “Adrian brings with him a unique wealth of experience, creativity, and knowledge of the history of fashion that will be instrumental to write a wonderful new chapter in the adventure of the brand founded by Franco Moschino.”
In the same communiqué, Appiolaza added: “I am deeply grateful to Massimo Ferretti for allowing me to access the world of Moschino as well as entry into a house whose walls exude a history that I am eager to hear. I am ready to transport the maison into a new chapter, with a theatrical touch, in the pure style of Moschino.”
Appiolaza has long been tipped to helm a house after a varied and distinguished apprenticeship below the creative decks. His most recent berth was at Loewe, where he served as ready-to-wear design director for 10 years. Prior to that he worked under Clare Waight Keller for two years during her underestimated stint at Chloé following two years under Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton and four years under Miuccia Prada at Miu Miu, which he joined in 2006.
“It was Phoebe Philo who changed the course of my career,” added Appiolaza in a note. While working as a junior designer at Alexander McQueen and Miguel Adrover at the turn of the millennium, the young Appialoza was also enrolled at Central Saint Martins. He added: “She saw the collection with which I graduated and invited me to join her at Chloé in 2002.” When Philo was on maternity leave in 2005, Appiolaza was amongst the design team that took a bow after that year’s fall collection was shown. He returned to the runway a year later, following Philo’s exit‚ and shortly before his move to Miu Miu.
Appiolaza was born in 1972 and says he spent much of his childhood and adolescence in his grandmother’s tailoring shop. It was an obsession with music, and not fashion, that first inspired him to leave home and move to the UK. He said: “During the years when the music scene in Manchester was thriving it pushed me to imagine another universe, seemingly distant, where I could express myself like never before.”
As well as his highly successful career in fashion design so far, Appiolaza is also a noted collector of other designers’ work. His first obsession was Comme des Garçons, but jewels in his archive include many rare early pieces by other designers including Yohji Yamamoto, Jean Paul Gaultier, Martin Margiela, Vivienne Westwood and Issey Miyake. In his message he added: “Franco Moschino has always been among them. Having access today to these memories; walking through these corridors overflowing with history just waiting to be heard; touching clothes that I had only seen in magazines has been invaluable and will serve as a compass in the journey I have just begun.”
That journey’s first landmark will be reached on 22 February. One challenge facing Appiolaza en route is that, unlike his richly-resourced former employers at LVMH and Richemont Group, Aeffe is a relatively small ship; it must be operated tightly in order to stay afloat. For a designer so steeped in the transformative potential of innovation through design, however, that factor could be as much a help as a hindrance.