Earlier this week, in an interview with Business of Fashion, Chloé’s creative director, Clare Waight-Keller, said, “I decided I want to portray a different type of Chloé girl this season. It’s less going to be about the youthful spirit, but a bit stronger, so that requires new casting and a new attitude.”
Waight-Keller is slowly re-making the Chloé aesthetic in her own image, that of a woman who is strong, active, and in charge of her own life, but still feels young, sensual, and enjoys living. This is a significant change for a label that has long been considered the domain of older teens and twenty-somethings. Waight-Keller is committed to enlarging the brand’s audience with a look that has broader appeal and greater variety.
So, coming down the runway this afternoon we saw plenty of loose-fitting lace on long spaghetti straps, but we also saw plenty of denim and summer suede. There were flowing, billowing light cotton dresses that catch the breeze and give one the most romantic of feelings, and there are also jumpers and separates with a more down-to-business look to them. While Waight-Keller knows better than to try and force too much change into a single collection, this is a transition she’s been working for three years now and with this season there’s finally a sense that a corner is being turned. Slowly.
As a result, we get playful, lacy babydolls that are bound to be popular with Chloé’s existing client base. Right behind those looks, though, we get a blue cotton button-down dress with large cargo pockets. A couple of looks later, the same silhouette is seen in washed denim. A lovely white lace dress with princess sleeves is followed immediately by a blue tweed suit with pleated shorts. See what she’s doing? A little give, a little take. A little long, a little short. A little youth, a little mature. She eases the Chloé girl into a ever-so-slightly more grown up look with gentle, smooth styling that is sensible, workable, and practical without feeling like one is wearing clothes from their mother’s closet.
Sure, there are still plenty of short skirts and enough sheer tops to keep camisoles a top selling item. At the same time, though, a hoodie with immense sleeves almost looks more like a cape and the matching sweats, while the essence of comfort, are actually well finished enough to go out in public.
As surely as all children grow up and must eventually take on the responsibility of being adults, Chloé is changing its look as well, helping young women through that transition without sacrificing the beauty and vitality of their youth. Clare Waight-Keller is as intelligent a business woman as she is a brilliant designer. Chloé is growing up.
Photo credit: Regis Colin Berthelier