Is Audrey Hepburn making a return to the house of Givenchy?

On Thursday, the French brand named Clare Waight Keller as its artistic director, responsible for women’s and men’s wear, accessories and couture. She will be the first woman to run the creative side of the house founded by Hubert de Givenchy in 1952.

The announcement marks a new stage in this year’s game of fashion musical chairs, and it is a potentially significant change, both for Givenchy and its incoming designer.

The news came less than two months after Ms. Waight Keller, a British designer, officially resigned from Chloé — which is owned by Compagnie Financière Richemont, and which announced last week that its new creative director was Natacha Ramsey-Levi. Ms. Ramsey-Levi had been creative director of women’s ready-to-wear at Louis Vuitton, a brand that, like Givenchy, is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.

“I am very happy to have Clare Waight Keller join the LVMH group,” said Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH, in announcing the news, which was released simultaneously on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, WeChat and Weibo. “I believe her widespread expertise and vision will allow Givenchy to enter the next phase of its unique path.”

What that next phase is remains to be seen, but the choice of Ms. Waight Keller, rumored during the recent Paris Fashion Week, suggests the answer is not more of the same.

Givenchy’s previous artistic director, Riccardo Tisci, left the brand in February after 12 years. He was responsible for transforming it from the house defined largely by the relationship between Mr. de Givenchy and Ms. Hepburn, his greatest muse, to a house the Kardashians loved, with all the Gothic hard-edge pop-culture buzz that suggests. Mr. Tisci also made it a social media force.

By contrast, there is nothing hard-edge about Ms. Waight Keller, 46, a low-key personality often pictured peeking out from under her long brown hair, hands tucked into trouser pockets. As a designer, she has seemed content to let her brands be the stars, and her work, both at Chloé and in her former position as designer of Pringle of Scotland, was marked by a soft-focus, accessible elegance with a tailored line. Think of it as slouchy chic.

Indeed, the statement by Philippe Fortunato, chief executive of Givenchy, seemed to suggest a return to the brand’s roots.

“I am very excited to see Clare bring her singular sense of elegance and modernity to Givenchy,” he said. “By exploring our maison’s 65-year heritage and the outstanding savoir-faire of its ateliers, I am convinced Clare will help Givenchy reach its full potential.”

Though Ms. Waight Keller, who began her career working at Calvin Klein in New York and with Tom Ford at Gucci, was also in charge of men’s wear at Pringle, she has never worked with an haute couture atelier before. Givenchy suspended its formal couture shows in 2012, first holding static presentations of the collection instead, and more recently incorporating some couture looks into its men’s wear shows in January and June. But the fact that Ms. Waight Keller has been specifically given responsibility for the highest form of fashion’s art suggests that a return to a more formal couture offering may be in the future.

It also suggests that the idea was false that Ms. Waight Keller, who has three children and has recently moved her family to London from Paris, was taking time off after Chloé because of the pressures of today’s fashion cycle. Her responsibilities at Givenchy, after all, will be significantly greater than her responsibilities at Chloé: She will be overseeing at least eight collections a year, as opposed to four.

LVMH does not break down the performance of individual brands in its financial results, but the Givenchy annual sales revenue is believed to be to around 500 million euros, or more than $530 million,) and there are 72 free-standing stores worldwide. In January, LVMH reported revenue of €37.6 billion in 2016, an increase of 5 percent, beating expectations because of strong sales in the United States and Europe, and a pickup in demand in Asia.

Along with the move of Raf Simons to Calvin Klein from Christian Dior, the switch by Ms. Waight Keller should put to rest the recent theory that designers are rebelling against the relentless demands of the system by stepping off the hamster wheel.

Perhaps most significantly of all, though, her appointment at the helm of one of LVMH’s signature brands is further indication that the largest luxury group in the world is increasingly focused on the talents of women designers, and changing a historical pattern that has seen most large brands with significant women’s wear profiles run by male creatives. (In June, Christian Dior, the structural owner of LVMH, named Maria Grazia Chiuri as artistic director.)

In her new role — like Phoebe Philo, the creative director of Céline, another LVMH brand (who, when she was creative director of Chloé, became the first designer to ever take a formal maternity leave) — Ms. Waight Keller will move between London and Paris, where the Givenchy atelier is based.

It may seem astonishing, but the idea that a designer would not have to choose between having a power position and a family life is a relatively new look in the fashion world.

Ms. Waight Keller officially begins work May 2. Her first show for Givenchy will take place during Paris Fashion Week in October.

The fashion world will be left to speculate on where Mr. Tisci, whose next move has not yet been announced, will end up. Rumor has it the answer is Versace. Stay tuned.

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