BREAKING: Clare Waight Keller Exits Givenchy
PARIS, FRANCE — On March 16, 2017, DM Fashion Book confirmed that Givenchy (owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE) named Clare Waight Keller as its new artistic director, responsible for women’s and men’s wear, accessories and couture (see it here). She became the first woman to run the creative side of the house founded by Hubert de Givenchy in 1952.
Today April 10, 2020, after three years in the role, Givenchy‘s artistic director Clare Waight Keller is leaving the iconic luxury label.
The British designer, who catapulted Givenchy’s international prominence – and her own – by dressing Meghan Markle for her royal nuptials in 2018, departs the French brand at the end of her initial contract.
Her last collection was the fall-winter 2020 women’s ready-to-wear, paraded on March 1 during Paris Fashion week.
The development underscores a trend for shorter tenures at heritage brands, and sets the stage for yet another reinvention at the storied couture house, controlled by luxury giant LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton since 1998.
“Focusing on a world based on haute couture has been one of the highlights of my professional journey,” Waight Keller said in a statement shared first with WWD.
“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.”
Givenchy said it would announce a new “creative organization” at a later date.
Given the absence of an artistic director, and factory shutdowns amid the coronavirus outbreak, Givenchy has canceled its women’s pre-spring collection, and it will not produce a fall 2020 couture collection. It plans to prepare a big men’s collection – combining pre-spring and runway – for sale in its showrooms in June.
Meanwhile, the shelf life of its spring-summer 2020 and fall-winter 2020 collections is to be extended in its own boutiques, a spokesman noted.
Waight Keller was Riccardo Tisci‘s successor. He exited the storied French brand in February 2017, after 12 years at the helm (see it here). Prior to Tisci and after founder Hubert de Givenchy retired in 1995, the house saw a revolving door of designers: John Galliano, Alexander McQueen and Julien MacDonald.
Among Waight Keller’s key accomplishments was bringing couture back to the runway – Tisci had opted for static presentations, or sprinkling it into his men’s shows. She also continued the brand’s momentum on the red carpet.
She took an eclectic approach to Givenchy’s image, first mining masculine-feminine territory in her collections and ad campaigns, later conscripting young pop star Ariana Grande as an ambassador, and then an older, unlikely pairing: Marc Jacobs and Charlotte Rampling.
Sidney Toledano, chairman and chief executive officer of LVMH Fashion Group, thanked Waight Keller “for her contribution to Givenchy’s latest chapter“.
“Under her creative leadership, and in great collaboration with its ateliers and teams, the maison reconnected with the founding values of Hubert de Givenchy and his innate sense of elegance. I wish Clare all the best in her future endeavors,” he said.
Waight Keller, an alum of Pringle of Scotland and Gucci, joined Chloé in 2011 and was hired by CEO Geoffroy De La Bourdonnaye. She rejuvenated the house’s ready-to-wear and accessories business and winning largely positive reviews for her collections. Waight Keller followed in the footsteps of Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney and Phoebe Philo, who all designed for Chloé.
In January 2017, we reported that Clare Waight Keller exited Chloé (see it here), which is owned by Compagnie Financière Richemont. The British designer made her exited after showing the brand’s Fall/Winter 2017 collection in the City of Lights during Paris Fashion Week on March 2 (see it here).
Waight Keller served as senior women’s designer at Gucci during the time Tom Ford was creative director, and has also worked at Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein. She spent six years at Pringle before moving to Paris to helm Chloé, where she succeeded Hannah MacGibbon.
Photos Credit: Givenchy’s Twitter