Hearst follows previous designer Natacha Ramsay-Levi, who announced her departure from Chloé four days ago, following a four-year stint at the label. When Ramsay-Levi posted on Instagram Thursday in all caps, “TODAY I AM STEPPING DOWN AS CREATIVE DIRECTOR AT CHLOÉ,” industry insiders immediately began whispering about who would succeed her at the storied brand, which has been home to designers including Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney, Phoebe Philo, and Clare Waight Keller. Hearst, it turns out, was at the top of the list.
A self-taught designer who worked on her father’s sheep ranch in Uruguay before heading into the fashion space, Hearst first launched her namesake brand in 2015. It was a women’s ready-to-wear line that centered on sustainability and wearability; her clothes undeniably fell into the luxury category, but weren’t necessarily Fashion with a capital F. Everyday women, along with the likes of Kate Middleton and Jill Biden (both of whom have been spotted in Hearst looks,) could wear the label. For her efforts, Hearst, who is married to August Hearst of the famous Hearst dynasty, won the CFDA American Womenswear Designer of the Year Award in September, and made her debut at Paris Fashion Week during the October 2019 shows.
In addition to her environmentally minded approach, the 44-year-old designer is known for her sharp tailoring—but even more so, she’s celebrated for her eye toward accessories (Hearst’s Baez and Nina bags, top-handled leather styles shown as part of the Gabriela Hearst spring 2020 collection, are both regarded as It bags). This could be a strategic move on Chloé’s part, as the brand is no stranger to an It accessory. Chloé’s Suzanna bootie, studded with gold; Marcie saddle bag; and even the Paraty, a purse first introduced in 2008, have endured as essential fashion items. Hearst bringing an increased focus on sustainability could also be a boon for the company, and is a welcome move for the fashion industry at large. But it will certainly bring Chloé’s wears to a higher price point.
Hearst’s first collection for Chloé will be shown March 2021. While she’s at the French maison’s helm, Hearst will remain the creative director of her own brand.