Clare Waight Keller has been named the new artistic director of the powerful fashion house Givenchy. She will oversee all women’s and men’s ready-to-wear, accessories and haute couture—which means no less than eight collections a year. She is the first woman to hold the position at the company, which is owned by LVMH. Previous Givenchy artistic directors include John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Julien Macdonald and her immediately predecessor Riccardo Tisci, an Italian designer who ran the brand for a long 12 years.
Formerly the director at Chloé, Waight Keller’s style is distinctly different from Tisci, who employs hard-edge designs that combine pop culture and high fashion. Tisci’s luxurious streetwear garnered praise from critics and celebrities alike, and his designs were particularly popular with the Kardashians. Waight Keller, on the other hand, is much more slouchy-comfy-cool girl. Her pieces are elegant, soft and distinctly feminine, which results in a modern interpretation of the “Chloé” girl. Signature designs include designer tracksuits, oversized frills and ‘70s-inspired prints.
The transition from Tisci to Waight Keller seems to signal a change for Givenchy. After years of Tisci tearing down boundaries, perhaps the fashion house wanted to return closer to its roots along with the philosophies of founder Hubert de Givenchy, who found inspiration in the looks of Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy. This theory is further reinforced by a statement by CEO of Givenchy Philippe Fortunato. “I am very excited to see Clare bring her singular sense of elegance and modernity to Givenchy,” he said. “By exploring our maison’s 65-year heritage and the outstanding savoir faire of its ateliers, I am convinced Clare will help Givenchy reach its full potential.”
Waight Keller is well aware of the Givenchy legacy. “Hubert de Givenchy’s confident style has always been an inspiration, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this legendary house’s history,” she said. Waight Keller will move between London and Paris, where the Givenchy atelier is located. Her tenure officially begins May 2, and we can expect her first collection for Spring 2018 to be shown in Paris in October. As for Tisci, there’s no confirmation as to his next move, but the rumors point to Versace.