The rumors (as always in fashion) were true—Chloé has just confirmed Natacha Ramsay-Levi as its new creative director. She will be in charge of ready-to-wear, leather goods, and accessories as of April 3.
“I am very proud to join a house founded by a woman to dress women,” she said in a statement. “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.’”
Ramsay-Levi’s name was first brought up when speculation swirled that Clare Waight Keller would not be renewing her contract. But once that news was confirmed, there was still confirmation regarding who would replace her.
What’s interesting about Ramsay-Levi’s appointment to the house is that it might signal a new aesthetic for the French brand. From its inception in 1952, Chloé occupied a particular niche in the fashion market as a high-end ready-to-wear brand with a laid-back attitude.
“Gaby Aghion, who founded Chloé, wanted her label to be a little bit more youthful and bohemian. In fact, she presented her collection in cafés on the left bank during the ’50s, which was really kind of setting the scene for what people like Saint Laurent were doing later,” explained Colleen Hill, who curated the FIT exhibit Paris Refashioned: 1957-1968, which featured early pieces from the house.
Though Aghion designed the first few collections herself, as the brand became more popular, she was advised to hire designers. In 1964 she tapped Karl Lagerfeld to helm her label, where he stayed for 20 years. “Interestingly, from very early on, it becomes clear that he’s the real star of the Chloé label, so if you open up French Vogue in 1965, there’s a new credit line for certain Chloé pieces that will say, ‘Karl Lagerfeld for Chloe.’ He was distinguished in a way that other Chloé designers had not been.”
While Keller kept a low profile at the brand as a designer, she had a massive impact on the brand’s identity, keeping in line with the bohemian attitude Aghion envisioned, and making it successful. Ramsay-Levi, who has worked for years as Nicolas Ghesquière’s right-hand woman at both Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton, comes from a very different stylistic background. Will she continue Waight Keller’s light femininity, or will she take things in a completely different direction? Or, perhaps, will she blend the two, redefining the bohemian aesthetic for the modern woman?
Fans will have to wait a few months to find out. Ramsay-Levi’s debut for the brand will be for Spring 2018, during Paris fashion week in September.