Last month, Riccardo Tisci formally announced his resignation at Givenchy, leaving a vacant spot at one of LVMH’s most lucrative assets. Until today, LVMH has remained tight-lipped about Tisci’s successor, letting the rumor mill churn out potential replacements that have ranged from Virgil Abloh to Balmain's Olivier Rousteing to ex-Cavalli designer Peter Dundas to Hedi Slimane. In fact, The Guardian was one of few media outlets to correctly speculate whether recently departed Chloé creative director, Clare White Keller would make a move to Givenchy. Needless to say, got it right.
Today, in a somewhat surprising move, LVMH has confirmed that Clare White Keller will replace Riccardo Tisci as Givenchy’s artistic director, a position he has held since 2005. It marks a sharp pivot in the aesthetic niche that Tisci’s 12-year tenure at Givenchy carved out.
Given that Keller’s aesthetic at Chloé was known for its sharp embrace of feminine modernity, while gently imbuing the brand's French DNA with some boyish toughness, it stands at odds against Tisci’s unapologetic embrace of celebrity culture and his love for high-octane graphic treatment and sportswear silhouettes.
According to The Business of Fashion, Givenchy’s decision to hire a designer with a more sensitive and delicately feminine aesthetic manner might be a financially motivated one. Though it’s impossible to dispute Tisci’s aesthetic legacy at Givenchy, Keller has a particular talent for designing accessories that sell big. That’s welcome news for the head honchos at Givenchy, as the brand has failed to deliver a hit bag since the ‘Nightingale’ which was very early on in Tisci's tenure.
However, Keller has zero experience at a Haute Couture house, and it also begs the question of how well matched her soft-spoken feminity is for Givenchy's directional menswear? On a more positive note, Clare Waight Keller will be the first ever female creative director at the storied French fashion house.
Riccardo Tisci is still yet to confirm whether he is moving on to Versace, but the rumors continue to persist.
In more industry news, Hood by Air has been tapped to design a capsule collection for Helmut Lang.