Call it designer musical chairs. In an announcement today, Clare Waight Keller, formerly of Chloé, has been named the new artistic director of Givenchy. The British designer succeeds Riccardo Tisci, who stepped down in February after a 12-year tenure.
While an official announcement regarding the appointment is expected from parent company LVMH shortly, Waight Keller wasted no time posting an archival headshot of house founder Hubert de Givenchy with the caption, “The journey begins.” Givenchy also posted a photo of Keller shot by Steven Meisel.
She will commence duties on May 2 as the illustrious brand’s sixth designer to take the reins. Previous artistic directors have included Alexander McQueen, John Galliano and Julien MacDonald, but it was Tisci who is most credited with restoring Givenchy’s luster and bringing it into the modern age through his Gianni Versace–style embrace of pop culture; his ability to make mere models supermodels; and his noir, razor-shape romanticism, right down to laced stilettos, extreme cutout mules and flared-shaft riding boots.
He also appealed to a broad audience through independent sneaker and apparel collaborations with Nike, which immediately sold out. He is rumored to be taking a new role at Versace, though it has yet to be confirmed.
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In a dramatically different style, during Waight Keller’s Chloé tenure, she kept collections a consistent fusion of gamine and bohemian. Successful scallop flats, studded boots (designed by her predecessor Paulo Melim Andersson) and foldover suede booties were recurring shoe themes.
With Maria Chiuri Grazia at Christian Dior, Phoebe Philio at Céline, Carol Lim at Kenzo and Silvia Venturini Fendi at Fendi, the move also represents a new female-driven design era for LVMH. Reportedly, Keller will split her time between London and the Paris headquarters.