He makes his debut for Balenciaga with a collection of near-monastic black-and-white looks in clean, spare shapes—cocoon jackets, peplumed tops, and sleek trousers—that resurrect some of the house’s classic silhouettes.
He successfully melded his own innovations with those of the founding designer, and vastly expanded the brand’s commercial reach. His work soon turned Balenciaga into a critically acclaimed fashion house in the 2000s.
… once said “Haute couture is like an orchestra, whose conductor is him. We, other couturiers, are the musicians and we follow the directions he gives.” Even the sharp tongue of Coco Chanel softened in deference to his skills: “He is a couturier in the truest sense of the word. Only he is capable of cutting material, assembling a creation, and sewing it by hand.”
This very influential couturier was …?
Cristobal Balenciaga. We are what we know.
Clare Waight Keller. The 41-year-old Royal College of Art grad who has worked for labels such as Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, and Gucci (under Tom Ford) and, most recently, headed the luxury knitwear brand Pringle of Scotland, joined Chloé in June 2011, and in her brief tenure thus far, has already brought new life to the brand.
Gaby Aghion, founder of Chloé, coined the term prêt-à-porter back in 1952. She hired Karl Lagerfeld as director of Chloé in 1966. A succession of other notable designers has interpreted the house codes of chic Parisian femininity – among them Martine Sitbon, Stella McCartney, and Phoebe Philo.