After months of speculation, Chloé said its creative director Gabriella Hearst is leaving the French fashion house after a three-year stint.
A statement released on Thursday confirmed that the womenswear collection to be showcased on September 28 during Paris Fashion Week will be her last for the brand.
Why this matters: Chloé was in the running to be the epitome of sustainable fashion
Ms Hurst, the Uruguay-born designer of women’s ready-to-wear and accessories, founded her eponymous luxury label in New York in 2015 before joining Chloé in December 2020. Chloé is one of the few fashion houses owned by the luxury goods group Richemont, which has historically focused its primary growth ambitions on its jewelery brands such as Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels, but has recently invested in its own fashion label. Has been, including Alaia.
The combination of Ms. Hurst and Clough appeared to be a good match to many observers. Designer has long been a champion of improving transparency and sustainability standards in the industry. And in 2021, Chloé announced it was the first luxury fashion house to receive B Corp certification, which ranks how a company is trying to make money while simultaneously working for social good. It seemed that the world’s wealthiest shoppers were getting a taste of ethical fashion at attractive prices. The knitted suede and recycled mesh Nama sneaker was a best-seller and according to its chief executive, Riccardo Bellini, the brand saw a 60 percent sales increase over the past two years.
But rumors throughout 2023 indicated Ms Hearst and Chloe could separate, partly due to pressure on the designer due to his trans-Atlantic schedule. Throughout her tenure, Ms. Hurst continued to run her New York-based business while also leading the Chloe Design Studio in Paris.
Background: Industry-wide designer upheaval
Ms. Hurst’s departure follows the departure of a number of creative directors at all stages of their careers: Jeremy Scott to Moschino, Tom Ford to Tom Ford, Ruigi Villaseñor to Bally and Ludovic de Saint Sernin to Ann Demeulemeester.
Most exits have their own specific triggers. But collectively they underlie the intensifying churn among creative directors at fashion brands, as impatient executives press for super-ambitious design and production timelines and spectacular sales growth for an increasingly fickle consumer.
What next: Looks like there’s an heir waiting
in June, there were reports Chemena Kamali, one time women’s design director for Saint Laurent and most recently a creative consultant at the contemporary line Frame, was chosen as Ms. Hurst’s successor. According to reports, Ms Kamali – who also worked at Chloe under Claire Waight Keller – was already running a parallel studio at Chloe in preparation to take on the role.
Clough declined to comment on when Ms Hurst’s successor would be announced.
“It has been the greatest privilege to share my creative vision and add my voice to Chloe’s story,” Ms Hurst said in a statement on Thursday. “I am grateful to be part of an incredible team laying a strong foundation for the purpose-driven future of fashion.”
It remains to be seen whether the house will sustain its recent costly investment or take a new direction to lead the industry in designing, producing and selling responsible fashion.