It's official. After months of speculation, Chloé has named Natacha Ramsay-Levi as creative director of the house, effective April 3rd.
Ramsay-Levi was widely rumored to be the leading candidate for the position since early this years when rumblings that Clare Waight Keller might leave the brand began to surface. The designer joins the house from Louis Vuitton, where she served as creative director under Nicolas Ghesquière since 2013. Her first show for the collection will be Spring 2018, shown during Paris Fashion Week in October.
"I am very proud to join a house founded by a woman to dress women," Ramsay-Levi in a statement released by Chloé. "I want to create fashion that enhances the personality of the woman who wears it, fashion that creates a character and an attitude, without ever imposing a 'look'."
In taking the role, Ramsay-Levi is the latest under-the-radar designer to take the helm of the storied house, founded in 1952--but if the past creative director's are any indication, that unknown status won't last long. More than any other brand, Chloé has a reputation for plucking star designers just before their apex, with Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney, and Phoebe Philo all holding the title before going on to become fashion deities.
But until Ramsay-Levi becomes a household names, here's what you need to know. The French designer got her start at Balenciaga, where she originally started as an intern making coffee. Ghesquière, who was creative director at the time, eventually took her under his wing, and the designer stayed with the company for eleven years, working her way up to design director, until she left to follow Ghesquière to Louis Vuitton. At both companies, Ramsay-Levi was widely considered to be his right-hand woman, and an integral part of the design process. Ghesquière took to his Instagram to congratulate his longtime collaborator just after the Fall 2017 Louis Vuitton show, held at the Louvre, posting a picture of the two and captioning it: "30 shows and many more fantastic project we experienced together. We spent an extraordinary part of our life sharing our passion. You are an inspirational, talented and generous woman and I am truly grateful for that."
When it comes to her personal life, however, Ramsay-Levi keeps things as private as possible. She's been in an on-again, off-again relationship with Purple magazine editor and photographer Olivier Zahm, with whom she has a son.
With this appointment, Ramsay-Levi is the latest woman to be named to a lead design position. Last summer, Dior named Maria Grazia Chiuri as it's first artistic director, while Boucha Jarrar filled the Lanvin artistic director spot left vacant by Alber Elbaz. In what's been a highly male-dominated industry for years, this is one trend that will hopefully last for seasons to come. Givenchy, take note.
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