When previous artistic director for Chanel Jacques Helleu died a little more than a year ago due to a prolonged illness that was kept private there was speculation as to who would succeed him and what would that entail for Chanel. Some of the rumours turned out to be just that and others materialized in what seemed to be a long thought-out process coming into fruition. Yet who would fill those elegant shoes remained a mystery, up till now. Chanel has tapped Ezra Petronio, editor in chief of Self Service Magazine, to oversee art direction for its makeup and watch businesses. The appointment reflects the categories’ strong growth trajectories, according to a company spokeswoman.
And who is Ezra Petronio, you ask! Born in New York city in 1968, he founded along with his partner Suzanne Koller the creative company Work in Progress in 1994. Simultaneously Self Service Paris-based magazine launched, a bi-annual, fashion and lifestyle magazine, to whome Petronio is Editor-in-Chief. He has phorographed hundreds of people posing in front of the flash of his 1970s Polaroid camera. He published a book, named Bold & Beautiful, sharing those intimate moments not just of the magazine's extended family tree but of the culture: designers, musicians, artists, photographers, writers, and thinkers of all stripes (establishment and avant-garde, the creative community and fashionable society). More than 270 portraits later (including those of Hedi Slimane, Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, Hussein Chalayan, Alexander McQueen, Donna Karan, Miuccia Prada, Marianne Faithfull, Jarvis Cocker, Tracey Emin, Terry Richardson, Philip-Lorca di Corcia, David Armstrong, Isabelle Adjani, Chloe Sevigny), Petronio was ready for a challenge: His new tenure at Chanel.
“We need to keep a cutting edge to our visual communications,” Chanel's spokeperson affirmed. While the spokeswoman was mum on details of Petronio’s contract, she said he will continue to work on Self Service and in his role as a director of Petronio Associates, a strategic and creative agency of which he is also one of the founders. In the past, Petronio has worked on beauty campaigns for Prada and Chloé, among others. Petronio Associates will continue to work with brands including Miu Miu, Yves Saint Laurent and Chloé. The Chanel spokeswoman said Petronio is currently settling into the role and becoming more familiar with the house’s heritage. “I’m sure 2009 will be a year when we’ll see interesting creativity in makeup and watches,” she added. Petronio will report to Maureen Chiquet, Chanel’s global chief executive officer.
Whether this status will later encompass the fragrance sector remains undisclosed as yet.
news via WWD as reported by by Brid Costello