Ten days after the designer Gabriela Hearst presented her last show for Chloé at Paris Fashion Week, the French fashion house confirmed the appointment of her successor, Chemena Kamali.
News of the hire had been long expected: When Ms. Hearst announced her departure in July, reports were circulating that Ms. Kamali was already running a parallel studio at Chloé in preparation for taking over the role of creative director. It also comes at a time when many in the industry have renewed urgent questioning about why so few top-tier luxury brands are led by women.
For Ms. Kamali, who is 41 and was born in Germany, the new job is a homecoming of sorts. A graduate of Central St. Martins in London, she began her career at Chloé as part of Phoebe Philo’s design team, returning there in 2013 to work for Clare Waight Keller. She also has been the women’s design director for Saint Laurent and most recently worked as a consultant for the contemporary line Frame.
“My heart has always been Chloé’s,” Ms. Kamali said in a statement released Monday. “It has been since I stepped through its doors more than 20 years ago. Returning feels natural and very personal.”
Riccardo Bellini, chief executive of the Richemont-owned brand, called her a “natural choice” for the house and praised her “creative talent, extensive experience and unique connection to the brand’s legacy.”
The announcement of Ms. Kamali’s appointment came just days after that of another top fashion house: Alexander McQueen hired Seán McGirr to replace Sarah Burton. The new roles for both Ms. Kamali and Mr. McGirr reflect a recent trend among fashion executives to favor relatively unknown designers over splashier names for top positions at prominent houses.
It also comes amid a resurgence in the debate around why fashion, a business largely for and about women, primarily has male designers in leading roles and why there is a lack of racial diversity in those ranks.
Women do head the design studios of the industry heavyweights Chanel and Dior, but in a thinned-out field, eyes will be on Ms. Kamali’s debut at Chloé with a pre-collection in January and a ready-to-wear runway show in February in Paris.