‘It’s about a poetic and charming way of putting things together, flirting with innocence from a place of strength,’ said the creative director in her show notes. And you could see she was coming at it from a much stronger and more confident place this season.
She also talked about combining ‘French sophistication with an English festival’ spirit, although the French part of the Franglais equation far outweighed the latter such was the luxeness of those great quilted parkas in ‘Chloe pink’ (the beigey-pink of the Chloe logo) dusty blue and apricot.
There were plenty of strong pieces besides the sophisticated parka, namely sporty cuffed pants in deep rust wool, great knitwear in patchworked cable or intarsia lace, a pair of slouchy black boyfriend trousers, the loose rust drop-waist dress and the pretty cream wool lace skirts and coats scattered with pearls. Oh and the new three-in-one ‘Lucy’ bag in quilted leather and crocodile with a chain strap that looked like it might go down a storm at retail.
Chloe has embraced women designers ever since Stella McCartney took over from Karl Lagerfeld in the late 1990s with her then assistant Phoebe Philo taking the reins in 2001, followed by Hannah MacGibbon seven years later. Make that BRITISH WOMEN at Chloe. And it’s a formula that has worked well.
But there was a nagging feeling throughout this show: that our new Chloe girl—despite all her dewy freshness—looked a bit too polite, a bit safe. On the one hand safe means strong foundations—a strength and absolute necessity. On the other hand, safe wasn’t enough to jolt a demanding fashion audience out of its seat and say ‘I bloody LOVE that’. And that is what Waight Keller needs to do now that she’s got her foundations in order—excite, energise and surprise us by finding a way to funnel more of that Brit-cool attitude into the mix.