First woman for French fashion house

Clare Waight Keller at the Chloe Fall/Winter ready-to-wear fashion show in Paris in 2015. She is moving to Givenchy as its new artistic director.
Clare Waight Keller at the Chloe Fall/Winter ready-to-wear fashion show in Paris in 2015. She is moving to Givenchy as its new artistic director.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

British designer Clare Waight Keller is Givenchy's new artistic director

PARIS • Givenchy named Clare Waight Keller as its new artistic director on Thursday, making her the first woman at the creative helm of the French fashion house founded by Hubert de Givenchy in 1952.

She takes over in May from star designer Riccardo Tisci, who is credited with reviving Givenchy by cultivating links with a long line of celebrities including singers Beyonce and Madonna and rapper Kanye West and his wife, reality television star Kim Kardashian.

Tisci left in January after 12 years in the role.

Waight Keller, 47, joins a growing list of British designers for Givenchy, such as John Galliano, Alexander McQueen and Julien Macdonald.

Givenchy, owned by luxury group LVMH, first announced the news in a post on its Instagram account and said Waight Keller will oversee all product lines, including women's and men's ready-to-wear, accessories and haute couture.

"I am very happy to have Clare Waight Keller join the LVMH group," Mr Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive of LVMH, said in the statement.

"I believe her widespread expertise and vision will allow Givenchy to enter the next phase of its unique path."

Waight Keller joins Givenchy after six years as creative director of Richemont's fashion house Chloe, having pushed up sales of its floaty, romantic, 1970s-influenced clothes.

Italian designer Tisci, 43, revitalised Givenchy with a dark, edgy vibe and there was widespread speculation when his departure was announced last month that he would join Versace.

His high-octane streetwear- inspired look has little in common with Waight Keller's more understated style.

Her gift for creating must-have accessories, however, may have been what caught Givenchy's eye.

A knitwear specialist, she made her name by turning Pringle of Scotland from a rather staid knitwear-maker into a fashion brand.

She also worked for Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and for Tom Ford at Gucci.

Over the past 12 months, several star designers have left top fashion houses Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino, Lanvin and, most recently, Chloe.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 18, 2017, with the headline 'First woman for French fashion house'. Print Edition | Subscribe