On Thursday, March 16th, Givenchy proudly announced their new head of design through Instagram. The new chief in town is nobody less than Clare Waight Keller. She has big shoes to fill since former ruler Riccardo Tisci left. And on top, she’s the first lady ever established to take on this position. But after what she did at Chloé, we very much believe that this new era will bring Givenchy back on track.
Givenchy’s creative director timeline
For the first time, since Hubert de Givenchy founded the French brand in 1952, a woman has been appointed to lead the couture house into another direction. Following the footsteps of Riccardo Tisci, John Galliano, Alexander McQueen and Julien McDonald.
Clare’s resumé: successful beginnings
The new leading lady of Givenchy graduated at the Royal College of Art in London. And moved to New York to offer her services to Calvin Klein on the same day she got her diploma. Afterwards, she took on the menswear design of Ralph Lauren’s Purple Label. Around that time Tom Ford pulled strings for her to work at Gucci alongside Francisco Costa and Christopher Bailey as a senior designer. From there on she stayed loyal to the brand until she was chosen to be creative director of Pringle of Scotland in 2005.
From Chloé to Givenchy
Even though we didn’t see this change coming we completely support this new shift that got us all awed. With no experience in haute couture, Miss Waight Keller will likely be drawn to the rich heritage of the house from the atelier on 3 Avenue George V in Paris.
Besides we’re talking about the British creative lady that made Chloé, Chloé again. Her skills to craft wearables and aspiring garments such as shoes and bags are in fact what Givenchy was missing. Because according to BOF: “Her talent for accessories will be welcome at Givenchy, which has not delivered a hit bag since the ‘Nightingale’ early in Tisci’s tenure”.
What will Clare do?
Waight Keller will debut her first spring/summer 2018 collection for Givenchy in October in Paris. And her new position will able her to design menswear as well as womenswear.
But let’s not forget her predecessor embraced hip-hop and celebrity culture. Italian-born Riccardo became an icon for his conspicuous collections. That way he attained a reputation for his sneakers, sweatshirts and sportswear-inspired gear. Not to mention his powerful network of celebrity friends like Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Justin Bieber, Madonna and Beyoncé. After all, the significant financial growth under Tisci’s control is undeniable. With an estimated turnover of more than €500 million in revenues, the question is will Clare keep up?
In Clare Keller Waight we trust
From the sound of it Philippe Fortunato, CEO of Givenchy, completely trusts Clare to lead the French maison with her modern elegance and simplistic taste for fashion. Maybe that’s what Givenchy needs for the moment, a fresh start!
Although Riccardo Tisci’s strategy to turn the legendary house into a trendy empire was a success. Being picked up by the entire pop and hip-hop culture wasn’t the most excellent thing at all. Considering many people, especially the board, felt like the focus wasn’t on fashion anymore. So that’s why they could use a female designer like Clare Waight Keller to bring Givenchy back on track again.
CEO of LVMH, Bernard Arnault, also shared his thoughts about the new woman of Givenchy: “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.”
Photo credit: Chloé, W MAG, NSS