Hubert de Givenchy is in the rare position of both having founded one of those storied Parisian fashion houses, and also being around to see the changes the industry's gone through since his retirement.
Of course the legacy of Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, and Cristobal Balenciaga looms large over the maisons they built, but they haven't had to live through the various ways different designers have interpreted and reimagined their considerable fashion legacies.
So taking the reins from Givenchy should be daunting right? Especially as they now have to contend with the equally formidable world created by Riccardo Tisci, who bowed out of the house after 12 years earlier in January.
So taking on Riccardo's gorgeous gothic luxe legacy is Clare Waight Keller, who announced her departure from Chloé after four years earlier this year. Her final show last season reinforced her warm and sexily nostalgic take on the Chloé girl and was soundtracked by The Human League's "Don't You Want Me Baby."
She'll be following in the considerably talented footsteps of John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Julien MacDonald, and Riccardo. Big shoes to fill, but we're sure Clare Waight Keller has big feet. She's proved as much during her time at Pringle and Chloé, and during a stint as a designer at Gucci under Tom Ford.
Clare was credited for bringing a breath of fresh air and lightness of touch to Chloé, and as a worthy successor to Phoebe Philo, who ran the house from 2001 to 2009. In fact, Clare joins a long list of creative directors who've overseen the brand on their rise to becoming leading lights of the industry, commercially and creatively; alongside Phoebe, Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney, and Martine Sitbon have all overseen the house's collections.
So now she's going to Givenchy. What can we expect? Well on the surface, her aesthetic synchs maybe more easily with the vision of Givenchy epitomised by muses like Audrey Hepburn and Jackie O, even if it might single a move away from the darker mood favored by Riccardo Tisci. Although, following on from the gothic sensuality of the Italian designer will be no easy task, especially as Riccardo's designs have been incredibly commercially successful. In a statement released today, Bernard Arnault, Chairman and CEO of LVMH, said how happy he was to have Clare join the group. "I believe her widespread expertise and vision will allow Givenchy to enter the next phase of its unique path. I am very much looking forward to her contribution to the Maison's continued success."
Clare herself spoke of the influence of Hubert de Givenchy's work on her career. "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. I look forward to working with the teams and writing a new chapter in this beautiful story."
Meanwhile at Chloé, longtime Nicolas Ghesquière associate Natacha Ramsay-Levi has been announced as succeeding Clare as Creative Director.
Text Felix Petty