Natacha Ramsay-Levi is leaving Chloé, the Paris brand that she’s helmed as creative director for four years. In a statement, Ramsay-Levi said: “I have had the great privilege, with the support of Chloé’s teams, to express my own creativity, while refocusing the Maison on Gaby Aghion’s commitment to intellectual freedom and to fundamental values that unite all of us. I want to thank Chloé for this opportunity. I am equally thankful for their support in my decision to leave my position.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented the fashion industry with unprecedented challenges. It has also been a time of personal reassessment for many, which Ramsay-Levi goes on to suggest: “Over the last months of health, social and economic turmoil, I have thought about the changes I want to see in our industry and how to better align them with my own creative, intellectual, and emotional values. It is this reflection that makes me consider my future differently and desire to pursue new opportunities.”
Riccardo Bellini, who was named Chloé’s CEO in October of last year, thanked her for her hard work and commitment. “Natacha has made a great contribution to Chloé, bringing at its centre the intelligence and sense of mission that were defined by our founder. She is an important member of that proud tradition of women who have designed at Chloé. Her creative leadership and her vision have written a powerful and meaningful chapter in our story.”
Ramsay-Levi exits on a high note. Her spring 2021 show was one of the standouts of the season. Staged in and around the courtyard of the Palais de Tokyo, it combined digital footage of models on the Paris streets with a runway show. Too often in fashion there’s a disconnect between what we see on the runways and what women wear in their lived realities. That had been the focus of Ramsay-Levi’s recent efforts at Chloé: finding the sweet spot where those two opposing qualities intersect. She told my colleague, Anders Christian Madsen: “It’s about showing something that’s more attentive, more spontaneous, and more intimate, and taking time to look at a woman and the way she moves and acts in a much more natural way.”
Prior to joining Chloé, Natacha Ramsay-Levi was creative director of women’s ready-to-wear at Louis Vuitton under Nicolas Ghesquière, with whom she also worked at Balenciaga. Ramsay-Levi gave Chloé an edgier sensibility than that of her predecessor, but as a student of feminism, philosophy, and cinema, her work was more nuanced than that easy descriptor. The spring 2021 collection featured a collaboration with the estate of Corita Kent, an American artist and “Pop Art nun”, who used advertising slogans and Bible verses to create work that condemned inequality and injustice in America. A season earlier, Marianne Faithfull’s scratchy voice was on her soundtrack, and the singer herself was the star of the Chloé front row. Let’s just say she’s not your usual teenage It-girl. We will be watching to see what Ramsay-Levi does next.
Chloé said it expects to appoint a new creative director “in due course”.
This article was originally published on Vogue.com