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Clare Waight Keller to Depart Givenchy [UPDATED]

The artistic director is leaving the French house after three years at the helm.

Clare Waight Keller is leaving Givenchy, the designer confirmed in an Instagram post on Friday. A replacement has not yet been named.

The British designer took the helm at Givenchy just three years ago, accepting the role of artistic director in March 2017. Waight Keller succeeded Riccardo Tisci, who, with his dark and sexy designs, had made the image of Givenchy as much his own over the course of his 12-year tenure as that of founder Hubert de Givenchy.

"After three truly wonderful years, the time has come to close my chapter at Givenchy," Waight Keller wrote in her post. "As the first woman to be the Artistic Director of this legendary Maison, I feel honoured to have been given the opportunity to cherish its legacy and bring it new life."

Waight Keller's time with the house will likely be most remembered for the wedding dress she created for Meghan Markle's 2018 wedding to Prince Harry. With its simple silhouette, boatneck neckline and delicate veil embroidered with flowers representing the British Commonwealth, Waight Keller's design was quite literally history-making. 

"It is truly an honor to have been given the opportunity to collaborate with Meghan Markle on such a remarkable occasion," Waight Keller said at the time. "It has been an immensely rewarding experience to get to know Meghan on a personal level, one I will forever carry with me." Indeed, the then-pregnant Duchess of Sussex made a surprise appearance at the 2018 British Fashion Awards to present her with the British Womenswear Designer of the Year Award.

But Waight Keller accomplished much more in three years than a singular wedding dress. She was the first woman to head up the house in its 50-plus year history. The designer brought Givenchy's Haute Couture collections back to the runway after a long absence, and tapped into the celebrity market by tapping pop star Ariana Grande for a campaign designed for the social media era.

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The Fall 2020 collection will be her final for the French house. WWD reports that, given current circumstances caused by the Covid-19 crisis, Givenchy has canceled its pre-spring collection and will not go forward with a Fall 2020 couture collection. 

Prior to Givenchy, Waight Keller spent six years in the top design role at Chloé. When she departed the job in early 2017, rumor had it she was unhappy with the commute between London, where her family lives, and Paris. Whatever the reason, it seems that it has become harder and harder for fashion houses to break the three year curse when it comes to keeping creative directors.

We have reached out to Givenchy for comment and will update as more information becomes available.

UPDATE, Fri. April 10, 11:00 a.m.: Givenchy has provided an official statement.

"I want to warmly thank Clare Waight Keller for her contribution to Givenchy's latest chapter," says Sidney Toledano, Chairman and CEO of LVMH Fashion Group. "Under her creative leadership, and in great collaboration with its ateliers and teams, the Maison reconnected with the founding values of Hubert de Givenchy and his innate sense of elegance. I wish Clare all the best in her future endeavors."

Givenchy will announce its "new Creative organization" at "a later date."

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