Nicolas Ghesquière’s Right-Hand Is Taking Over Chloé

Photo: Antonello Trio/Getty Images.
It's official: Natacha Ramsay-Levi, Nicolas Ghesquière's former right-hand, will take over Chloé following Clare Waight Keller's departure earlier this year, the New York Times reports. "When we make this kind of a choice, we don’t look at what someone has done, but what they’ve learned and who they are," Geoffroy de la Bourdonnaye, Chloé's chief executive, told the Times of Ramsay-Levi's hiring. “I am not signing the Vuitton aesthetic or creative direction. I am signing a great talent." He went on to describe the designer as "daring, charismatic, joyful, confident" — all characteristics he believes embody the Chloé brand. Ramsay-Levi just wrapped up her last collection with Ghesquière, who she's been working for since 2002, back when he was at Balenciaga. The now-Louis Vuitton creative director couldn't help getting emotional at his longtime collaborator's final bow: He posted a sweet goodbye to her on Instagram after the fall '17 show. On Friday morning, the newly-appointed head of Chloé shared the news on her personal social accounts, thanking those who helped her get there and adding that she can't wait to start.

Update, January 20, 2017:
After much speculation, Chloé officially announced Clare Waight Keller's departure from the label this morning. "After six extraordinary years at Chloé, I would like to thank Geoffroy [de La Bourdonnaye, the company's president] and all my colleagues for their enormous efforts over the past years," the designer said in a statement. "Working for this Maison has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career. Chloé is a brand with values close to my heart and I have truly enjoyed working with some of the best talents in the industry. I feel privileged to have worked for a Maison with such a heritage and I am very proud of all that has been achieved." Waight Keller's last collection for Chloé will be fall '17, which is expected to debut at the upcoming Paris Fashion Week. While no replacement has been announced, it's said that Louis Vuitton's Natacha Ramsay-Levi is being eyed for the role of creative director.

This story was originally published on January 4, 2017.

So much fashion industry gossip has revolved around who's leaving where, who's going where, and which luxury house was hiring. At the end of the year, it seemed like most of the dust had settled and, save for a few outliers, most designers had found their new homes just in time for fall '17 (or spring '17, or whatever season we're on in a post "see now, buy now" world). However, this is an industry that thrives on change — and, not even a week into the new year we have our first shake-up of 2017. Chloé has apparently parted ways with Clare Waight Keller, its creative director since 2011, Reuters reports. Instead of keeping the fashion flock in suspense, the brand seems to have already appointed her successor. Natacha Ramsay-Levi, who's been Nicholas Ghesquière's right hand for over a decade (first at Balenciaga, and most recently at Louis Vuitton) is rumored to lead design at the French fashion house. If you were hoping for some juicy tidbit or soundbite about this professional split, you'll have to look elsewhere. According to Reuters, Waight Keller's contract was up, and she decided not to renew. Apparently, her family relocated to London, where the designer is from, last summer, so she'd have to commute to Paris for work. Waight Keller reportedly wanted to be a little closer to home. (Before working at Chloé, she was creative director of Pringle of Scotland in the U.K.) The change is expected to happen in March. Back in December, WWD reported that Chloé was in talks with Ramsay-Levi — and while some sort of move was speculated, no party commented on the matter. This jump will likely have a bigger impact on Louis Vuitton, where she was design director. Ramsay-Levi acted as the main liaison between Ghesquière and the design team, who, according to Reuters, rarely communicate directly. Hey, rumor has it Ghesquière, too, is on the way out at Louis Vuitton, with his contract with LVMH set to expire and ambitions to pursue his own namesake label coming to late. Who knows — 2017 might have as many surprises and shake-ups as last year.

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