In lieu of designer notes, Chloé creative director Clare Waight Keller offered the following:
Work for a cause,
Not for applause.
Live life to express,
Not to impress.
Don’t strive to make
your presence noticed.
Just make your
Such practical words were certainly appropriate for a collection that is destined to be as commercially popular as any, beautiful and at times elegant, yet strong in basic elements that are fundamental to a good wardrobe.
From the very first look that mixed the practicality of a heavy, full-length wool coat with military trimmings with well-tailored slacks and a ruffled blouse topped with a long black tie fastened around the neck. For some reason, I was reminded a bit of Les Miserables, perhaps because of the ruffles. A few looks later it was a gorgeous gray cape coat, again with the military buttons, over a lace-hemmed dress with extra-long sleeves.
As the looks continued into fur, tweeds, and even chiffon and silk, it was a continued juxtaposition of luxury against the pedestrian, rich versus poor if you will, that gave this collection its most popular ensembles. Coats, especially at full-length, are nothing if not spectacular in this collection and ankle-high boots are the perfect blend of sensibility and fashion. At the same time, lace detailing, delicate fabrics, and deep plunging necklines play more to the soft, glamorous side of life.
Later in the collection Waight Keller goes heavy with denim and patchwork and rolls of crushed velvet; heavy, sturdy materials of the working class but offset with lace and shearling and cut for more formal purposes. Here, we see a delightful poncho trimmed with fringe, dark floral prints, and very thin little belts helping break up the scenery. All the way to the end, the military undertones continue, even when the buttons turn from brass to black molded plastic.
This Chloé collection is one that can take its wearer almost from bed to boardroom and back again, provided one has a good hair brush neatly tucked in that leather pouch purse. Such levels of practicality are not something we see too often in Paris. Yet, Waight Keller never let a piece escape without a touch of the fantastic; a piece of glamor to guide throughout one’s day. This collection is both expressive and impressive, and that’s a contrast with which I think everyone can live.