Chloé has named Gabriela Hearst its new creative director, effective today.
She is expected to unveil her first collection for the storied French brand next March for the fall-winter 2021 season and continue as creative director of her namesake New York-based fashion house.
The appointment comes four days after Chloé revealed that Natacha Ramsay-Levi, who brought an edgy élan to the brand over a nearly four-year stint, was stepping down from the role.
A prominent proponent of sustainability, Hearst joins Chloé as it shifts to a purpose-driven business model hinged on social sustainability and a particular focus on the advancement and empowerment of women, in addition to eco-responsibility.
Hearst’s approach to fashion, sometimes dubbed “honest luxury,” certainly dovetails with the house’s new focus. She also has a strong track record with leather goods — her top-handled Nina bag a brisk seller right out of the starting gates.
Hearst started her label in fall 2015 after taking over the operations of her father’s sheep ranch in Uruguay and built a luxury women’s ready-to-wear and accessories business on the principles of timelessness, quality and sustainability. Among her raw materials is merino wool from the family farm.
She was named the American Womenswear Designer of the Year at the CFDA Fashion Awards last September and made her debut at Paris Fashion Week last October.
“The paradigm that we always set ourselves is, ‘How are we going to do business 10 years from now, where there’s water shortages, where there’s less access to natural resources, lack of biodiversity?’” Hearst said on the sidelines of that show.
Last year, LVMH Luxury Ventures, an entity within LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, took an undisclosed minority stake in Gabriela Hearst LLC.
Hearst is self-taught. She didn’t go to business or design school, though sketching has always come naturally.
Gabriela Hearst is the second collection she started from scratch — the first being Candela, a bohemian-flavored contemporary line launched in 2004. She is also a member by marriage of one of America’s foremost publishing dynasties, Hearst; her husband is Austin Hearst, grandson of William Randolph Hearst.
Founded in 1952 by Gaby Aghion and controlled by Swiss luxury group Richemont since its formation in 1988, Chloé has been designed by a rotating cast of design talents including Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney, Phoebe Philo, Paulo Melim Andersson, Hannah MacGibbon and Clare Waight Keller.
Known by her close friends as Gaby, Hearst is believed to be the first Uruguayan woman to helm a Paris fashion house.
She was widely tipped as a frontrunner for the plum design post. Asked in a recent interview with WWD if she would work for another luxury house, she replied: “Never say never, but I’m so in love with what we do here, and it has to be similar ideologies.”
This story was reported by WWD and originally appeared on WWD.com.