The 41-year-old German designer has worked for Chloé twice and spent six years as women’s ready-to-wear design director at Saint Laurent
Chemena Kamali is the new woman at Chloé, following Gabriela Hearst’s exit this month. President and CEO Riccardo Bellini welcomed her in a statement this morning. “[Chemena’s] extraordinary creative talent, extensive experience and unique connection with the brand’s legacy and values make her a natural choice for the maison. [Her] vision, inspired by her love for the brand, will truly celebrate Chloé’s unique DNA… I am excited to see [it] come to life.”
The 41-year-old German designer, a Düsseldorf native, has already logged two stints at the label founded by Gaby Aghion as a resource for luxury ready-to-wear in 1952, when Paris fashion was still dominated by haute couture houses. Chloé’s free-spirited aesthetic was born in those post-war years, when Aghion pioneered a more liberated, easier way of dressing than counterparts like Cristobal Balenciaga and Christian Dior, whose garments were heavily structured – and often just heavy.
My heart has always been Chloé’s. It has been since I stepped through its doors more than 20 years ago. Returning feels natural and very personal.
Kamali began her career at Chloé, working on Phoebe Philo’s team, before receiving her Masters at Central Saint Martins under Louise Wilson, and after working at Alberta Ferretti and Strenesse in Milan returned to Chloé to work under Clare Waight Keller as design director from 2013 to 2016. That year, she joined Saint Laurent, as Anthony Vaccarello assumed the creative director role at the Kering-owned brand, working closely with him as women’s ready-to-wear design director.
In a statement, Kamali said, “My heart has always been Chloé’s. It has been since I stepped through its doors more than 20 years ago. Returning feels natural and very personal.”
Kamali, who starts today, has been widely rumored to be next in line at Chloé since the summer, when her predecessor Hearst’s exit was announced.
Her appointment comes amidst online umbrage generated by the announcement last week that Seán McGirr would replace Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen, another white male joining the ranks of creative directors at luxury fashion brands in Paris and Milan. Karl Lagerfeld held the creative director role at Chloé for many years, but otherwise the maison has a long history of female leads, from Stella McCartney and Philo, to Hannah MacGibbon and Waight Keller, to Natacha Ramsay-Levi before Hearst. Many of their designs will be seen in the exhibition, “Mood of the Moment: Gaby Aghion and the House of Chloé”, opening this week at the Jewish Museum in New York.
Kamali’s first collection for the brand, for pre-fall 2024, will be shown in Paris in January, followed by her runway debut in February.