31 January

Clare Waight Keller leaves Chloé

 

The house of Chloé has just announced the departure of its artistic director Clare Waight Keller after six years at the Paris label. We look back at the highlights and the path taken by this British designer…

Par Delphine Roche

  • From Bowie to Embroidery

     

    Among the influences that encouraged Clare Waight Keller’s to become a fashion designer were her passion for pop music and her love of lace and embroidery from the traditions of English apparel. Introduced to sewing by her mother and the beauty of antique clothing by her grandmother, Clare spent her teenage years hanging out in record shops with her sister marvelling over the incredible outfits worn by pop stars on album covers. Her preference was for Siouxsie and the Banshees, New Order and David Bowie, i.e. the best of British insularity. 

Chloé fall-winter 2016 runway show by Clare Waight Keller

Chloé fall-winter 2016 runway show by Clare Waight Keller

A love of knitwear and Tilda Swinton’s glamour

 

Ever since she started knitwear has been a guiding principle in Clare Waight Keller's work. After an MA in Fashion Knitwear at the Royal College of Arts, she took the reins at Pringle of Scotland, the Scottish house specialising in cashmere which she would bring to the fashion fore notably by making actress Tilda Swinton her muse. Stunning wools, a bit of story-telling, a dash of glamour… the formula was established. 

Gucci fall-winter 2016 runway show by Clare Waight Keller

Gucci fall-winter 2016 runway show by Clare Waight Keller

Meeting Tom Ford

 

It was alongside Tom Ford at Gucci, from 2000, that Clare Waight Keller learnt the tricks of the fashion trade: how to balance creation with marketing, how to make a brand's identity so strong that even the smallest accessory will fly off the shelves…

The Chloé Attitude

 

More than just clothes, Clare Waight Keller established a veritable Chloé attitude: “the most striking code at the house is the sense of movement, fluid dresses, hair blowing in the wind”, she recently told Numéro. From the Haim sisters, sparkling Californian rockers in subtly 70s looks, to Isabelle Huppert who walked the red carpet at Cannes for her film Elle in a made-to-measure Chloé outfit, Clare Waight Keller's muses are free spirits, women who opt for effortless chic and no disguises. 

Chloé spring-summer 2017 runway show by Clare Waight Keller

Chloé spring-summer 2017 runway show by Clare Waight Keller

The art of mixing

 

During her six years at the helm of Chloé, Clare Waight Keller knew how to nuance and renew her fashion discourse season after season by cleverly juggling the complimentary facets of her Chloé girl. Pure lines, simplicity and soft tailoring denoted the Parisian identity of the house… Long fluid dresses undulating in the breeze, a touch of romance and a timeless femininity that are at the heart of 70s bohemian Chloé… Boyish sporty details anchoring the style in English streetwear with assumed 90s references… Accessories with ultra-desirable jewelled details, rings and fun alphabet charms… Under Clare’s rein, every woman could appropriate a bit of the Chloé identity. An art of mixing that the beautiful English woman will no doubt take with her on her new adventures.

 

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