Clare Waight Keller and Givenchy are parting ways. Announced this morning exclusively to WWD, the French fashion house said it would be ending its partnership with its artistic director of three years. As for Keller, this is the closing to a chapter that’s already marked with many memorable moments in fashion history.
Keller is the first woman to hold her role at the house the late Hubert de Givenchy built. At the helm, she lead the return of haute couture, which had not been seen at the label for eight years before her appointment. Her designs had a mix of structure and romance seen in impeccably sharp tailoring, cascading ruffles and fringe, or daring thigh-high lace boots, for example. The collection earned support from fans such as Rihanna, Hunter Schafer and Ariana Grande, who was named brand ambassador under Keller’s tenure.
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Of course, arguably the most ubiquitous Givenchy design under Keller’s direction was the minimalist, bateau neck gown that Meghan Markle wore to wed Prince Harry in 2018.
Givenchy called Keller’s departure “the end of their collaboration,” on Instagram. It also shared with WWD that it “would announce a new ‘creative organization’ at a later date,” suggesting that perhaps the artistic director role might take an untraditional approach going forward.
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From the heart ♥️ After three truly wonderful years, the time has come to close my chapter at Givenchy. As the first woman to be the Artistic Director of this legendary Maison, I feel honoured to have been given the opportunity to cherish its legacy and bring it new life. Focusing on a world based on Haute Couture has been one of the highlights of my professional journey. I have shared so many incredible moments with the brilliant Givenchy ateliers and design teams : your exceptional talent and dedication will forever remain in my memories. My heartfelt thanks go out to each of the unsung heroes and heroines behind the scenes, for their contribution from product to communications and retail, and every global team member, partner and supplier in between. Without all of you, I could not have brought my vision for Givenchy to life in such a beautiful way. I am now looking forward to embarking on the next episode. Love and creativity remain central to what I do, and who I am, as does a heartfelt belief in kindness, and the courage to be true to your art. See you soon, and most importantly, stay safe ❤️ Love, Clare
Keller, who famously served as creative director at Chloé for six years prior to Givenchy, shared a message of gratitude on Instagram, thanking the house ateliers and design teams for helping to bring her vision to life. “I am now looking forward to embarking on the next episode. Love and creativity remain central to what I do, and who I am, as does a heartfelt belief in kindness, and the courage to be true to your art.”
During the current global health crisis in which factories have been shut down and the women’s pre-spring RTW collection and fall 2020 couture collections have been canceled, Keller signed off her message simply, “See you soon, and most importantly, stay safe.”