The French fashion house Chloé has appointed Chemena Kamali as its new creative director after Gabriela Hearst said farewell during her final show at Paris fashion week.
Kamali, a 41-year-old from Düsseldorf, most recently worked at Saint Laurent but her appointment is something of a full-circle moment. Chloé is where Kamali began her career, first working as part of Phoebe Philo’s team and later as design director under Clare Waight Keller.
“My heart has always been Chloé’s,” Kamali said in a statement released on Monday. “It has been since I stepped through its doors more than 20 years ago. Returning feels natural and very personal.”
Her appointment comes days after Seán McGirr was announced as Sarah Burton’s successor as creative director at Alexander McQueen.
Both Kamali and McGirr’s designations follow a trend of promoting existing and somewhat under-the radar-talent, rather than going for a starry name such as when earlier this year, the musician Pharrell Williams took over the men’s creative director role at Louis Vuitton.
Kamali, a graduate of Central Saint Martins in London, has held stints at Alberta Ferretti and Strenesse in Milan and recently worked as a consultant for the LA-based denim brand Frame.
Her appointment comes at a time when many are questioning why the top positions at many luxury fashion houses lack both gender and racial diversity.
Kering, the parent company of McQueen has six white, male creative directors. According to the Vogue Business Index, of the top 30 luxury brands, eight of the 33 creative director roles are held by women.
Chloé was founded by the French female designer Gaby Aghion in 1952. Aghion later hired Karl Lagerfeld to helm the house but after his departure in 1997, many leading female designers including Martine Sitbon, Stella McCartney and Natacha Ramsay-Levi have held the lauded creative director position.
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Kamali will make her debut at Chloé with a pre-collection presentation in January 2024 followed by a catwalk show during Paris fashion week in February.
Riccardo Bellini, the president and chief executive officer at Chloé, said in a statement that Kamali’s “extraordinary creative talent, extensive experience and unique connection with the brand’s legacy and values make her a natural choice for the maison”.