How poignant that the Chloé
collection sent out on Sunday captured so well the sweet, free spirit of the brand.
For no one could have predicted the sentiment of a show that would take place one day after the death, at age 93, of Gaby Aghion, who founded Chloé over 60 years ago. Her period with Karl Lagerfeld at the helm, when he invented “le flou” — a new kind of fluidity — changed the face of fashion.
By happenstance, the designer Clare Waight Keller sent out a collection that is the closest she has come yet to capturing Chloé’s free spirit. It may now be a label for international — rather than specifically French – young women, but the British-born designer has reached a point where everything is working well.
As the show opened, the new feeling was evident: no hard, pulsating music with the models throwing themselves at breakneck speed down the runway.
Instead it was a gentle outing for lacy, racy little dresses. Although I must admit, it was not until I was backstage after the show that I realised the amount of work that had gone into fabricating the peacocks that spread their wings across the lace.
The clothes had loosened up. A lot of the inspiration seemed like hippie-de-luxe from the Seventies — a trend for Summer 2015. But the high quality of a fresh, full-sleeved white shirt worn with tailored shorts, or a shorts outfit in saffron and rust suede, put Chloé in a class all its own.
The denim here looked designer-worthy — especially a skirt with the denim-blue dyed into a sweater. And what the designer called her minimum and maximum looks — billowing long dresses and short ones — created a nice balance.
In the end, it was the handwork that made Chloé’s fresh, young clothes look classy, rather than just cute. Clare called it “modern folklore”, and a long dress with woven flowers had a fairy-tale quality.
Gaby Aghion would surely have been proud to see the Chloé name that she planted all those years ago is an evergreen, and eternally young.