Fashion has become known for quick designer turnover in recent years, but the news that Clare Waight Keller is leaving her post as artistic director of Givenchy after just three years comes as a particular shock.
Not only had Keller received strong reviews for certain collections, but she was responsible for one of the most high-profile dresses of the past few years: Meghan Markle’s wedding gown. WWD was the first to report the news.
“Focusing on a world based on Haute Couture has been one of the highlights of my professional journey,” wrote Keller on Instagram. “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.”
“I want to warmly thank Clare Waight Keller for her contribution to Givenchy’s latest chapter,” said Sidney Toledano, Chairman and CEO of LVMH Fashion Group in a statement. “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.”
British-born Keller worked under Tom Ford at Gucci in the early ’00s before becoming the artist director of Pringle of Scotland. In 2011, she was named to the same position at Chloé, the French house particularly known for launching designers to more prominent positions (Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney, and Phoebe Philo had all previously held the job). So when Givenchy came calling in 2017, it was perhaps not much of a surprise.
Keller replaced Riccardo Tisci (who has since landed at Burberry), and became the house’s first female chief creative. While Tisci had placed the house near the peak of a certain kind of gothic-informed glamour, Keller excelled at refined elegance for the modern woman. Not only did she become the designer most associated with Markle, but the house also undertook an extensive partnership with pop singer Ariana Grande.
Her designs were a hit with other celebs on the red carpet as well. Rooney Mara, Gal Gadot, Rihanna, and Julianne Moore all wore Givenchy numerous times. While Charlize Theron has a contract with Givenchy’s corporate cousin Dior, she, too, had become a notable fan of Keller’s designs.