Confirming a sad but true rumour, Olivier Theyskens has left Nina Ricci, despite having a contract until October. The man who had one of the premiere Paris collections - and who helped Ryan Phillippe see what he was missing with Reese Witherspoon - ended his reign with a gothic-inspired smack in the face to his label.
The dirt, plus two of Theyskens' possible new jobs
What Happened: Despite editorial acclaim in his two years with the brand, Theyskens found limited commercial success at Ricci. He forged an alliance with Witherspoon when she started wearing his gowns on the red carpet, but overall, Ricci's perfume sales remained much more successful. To rub salt in the sartorial wound, Ricci's previous designer, Lars Nilsson, doubled ready-to-wear sales in three years.
What They Said: In a joint statement, Ricci and Theyskens said that the brand "wiishes to re-orientate its development strategy for the years to come," and so "[c]onsequently, Nina Ricci and its artistic director Olivier Theyksens have decided by mutual agreement to cease their collaboration." WWD speculates that Peter Copping, new creative director to Ricci (and former top design deputy to Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton), could take over.
Possible New Job 1: Designing for Schiaparelli
Likelihood: Not much. Despite rumours that Theyskens could revive the surrealist brand when it reemerges in 2010 (or later), Schiaparelli's parent company has denied it's headhunting designers.
Possible New Job 2: Designing his own line
Likelihood: Fingers crossed. Theyskens has the rights to his trademark and "is said to be mulling a relaunch of his signature label", according to WWD. The Belgian designer first found fame at age 21, when Madonna wore one of his gown to the Oscars. He paused his own work upon joining the Rochas team in 2003 before moving to Ricci after Rochas was nixed to focus on fragrance sales.