Whether he jumped or was pushed, there’s little doubt Australia fashion personality Justin O’Shea’s short-lived stint as creative director of Brioni isn’t the last time we’ll see him at the helm of a global-scale fashion entity.

News broke last night that high-style hipster O’Shea – complete with long beard, full sleeve tattoos, a penchant for tailored suits and a regular spattering of man-bling – had left the Italian menswear brand just six months after arriving. 

Social media-savvy O’Shea left his prestigious post as fashion director of MyTheresa.com to take up the role, presumably with the blessing of long term girlfriend, former Harper’s Bazaar Germany style director, now fashion website owner, Veronika Heilbrunner. The pair is one of the most regularly snapped couples on the fashion circuit.

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O’Shea and Heilbrunner, here at Milan Fashion Week, are both popular with the fashion industry and have huge social media followings
Credit: Getty Images

So what happened at Brioni? Rumour is despite having the same parent company as Gucci – Kerring (which is run by Salma Hayek’s husband, François-Henri Pinault) Brioni failed to enjoy the same resurgence and sales spike enjoyed Gucci after Alessandro Michele added his own modern, youthful, edgy twist to the classic brand’s creative direction.

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O’Shea on the runway after the finale of his first (and now only) presentation for Brioni during the Haute Couture AW16 shows in Paris
Credit: Getty Images

There’s no doubt O’Shea made every attempt to push Brioni on a more cool-focused course – his first advertising campaign for the brand saw him use rock band Metallica as his models in a photographic ode to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody album cover. But it seems Brioni’s existing customers weren’t convinced and new younger customers failed to materialise instantly.

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The Metallica advertising campaign was conjured and art directed by O’Shea himself

Many argue the Australian wasn’t given enough time to turn the elitist brand around. The caption on O’Shea’s Instagram post the day news of his leaving broke is a clue to his thoughts: “The brioni_official coffin”.

O’Shea posted this snap of a coffin-shaped display in Brioni’s Rue Saint-Honoré store the day news of his departure broke
Credit: Instagram @justinoshae

What happens next to the brand – which once had a womenswear division headed up by Alessandro Dell’Acqua before it closed in 2011 – is unclear.

But one thing is certain: we’re pleased there will now be more likelihood of seeing this power couple snapped out and about together now that half of it’s got a little more free time on his hands.

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Best answer to any fashion week taxi shortage: the style power couple biked their way around Paris for the shows instead
Credit: Getty Images

thoughts?