Chloé has appointed Natacha Ramsay-Levi as its creative director. The French designer, who will take up her post on April 1, arrives from Louis Vuitton, where she has spent the past three years working under Nicolas Ghesquière as creative director of women's ready-to-wear.
Ramsay-Levi has a long-established working relationship with Ghesquière - she followed him to Louis Vuitton from Balenciaga (where she began her career in 2002 and rose to be his design deputy), after a brief period consulting for other brands including Hermès and Acne Studios. Rumours of her appointment at Chloé, founded in 1952 by Gaby Aghion, were first circulating in January.
Ramsay-Levi will be responsible for women's ready-to-wear, leather goods and accessories. The appointment seems like a good match - while Vuitton's womenswear is far more futuristic than that found at Chloé, it is nevertheless a seamless mix of pretty dresses, sharp tailoring and sporty separates, and under former creative director Clare Waight-Keller, Chloé became renowned for its louche brand of tracksuit and for its wearable, working-woman's wardrobe. Ramsay-Levi will however have to get to grips with the vast amount of fabric and volume of Chloé's flou - the house's signature, billowing gowns.
Ditto the bags: in Richemont's 2016 annual report, the increase in revenues to €1.8bn of the Other Businesses category that Chloé falls under (which also includes Alaia and Dunhil) was attributed in part to the success of Chloé's Drew bag. Chloé is Richemont's biggest fashion house, and the brand's #chloegirls Instagram campaign racked up over 10m likes in 2015. Ramsay-Levi has momentum to build on: chairman of Richemont Johann Rupert stated that Chloé reported "good sales growth" in 2016, with analysts estimating that the house's annual sales are in the region of €400m.
"I am particularly happy to welcome Natacha to Chloé," said the brand's president Geoffroy de la Bourdonnaye of the appointment. "Her extensive experience at two prestigious fashion houses, and her creative energy, will further expand the maison in Gaby's vision: at the intersection of Parisian couture savoir faire and the youthful attitude of the Chloé girl."
"I am very proud to join a house founded by a woman to dress women," said Ramsay-Levi. "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'."
Her debut collection for the house will be presented in Paris for spring/summer 2018.
This article was originally published by the Financial Times.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017.