Dispatches From Paris: Chloé

A kind of soft minimalism...


In her show notes, Chloé’s creative director Clare Waight Keller said her collection was ‘a tribute to girls named Kate, Chloë, Cecilia, Corinne, Rosemary, Emma, Courtney and many others who embody the liberty and the elegance of a perfectly mastered and excessively lived simplicity’.


Bearing in mind the collection opened with a navy and burgundy zippered sports top and a floor-sweeping dainty floral print skirt, and that it included frayed denim, lashings of lace, a hand-knitted jumper, slip dresses and dungarees, you might not be surprised to learn that the surnames of the women she was referring to were Moss, Sevigny, Chancellor, Day, Ferguson, Balfour and Love. All seven Nineties pin-ups played their part in the grunge era, when less was more and sportswear was effortlessly styled with all things pretty. Waight Keller applied their maverick way of putting clothes together and, through the Chloé lens, issued a wardrobe that looked as relevant now as it would have done then.  


The big new story for Chloé was sportswear: striped, seamed track pants that were slit to the ankle, vests and zippy jackets in school-uniform shades provided a cooler edge to all the feminine patchworked lace slips (if you’re in the market for the season’s new dress shape, these were lovely). As did the denim: big flares or a workman’s shirt with frayed edges, sawn-off shorts, halter tops bowed at the neck and the fluid dungarees worn with nothing but a simple black lace bandeau beneath. Another great addition was the easy-breezy volume that swept through the collection in ginormous rainbow-striped babushka trousers. Huge, airy, lightweight and gathered at the ankle, they harked back to the house’s Seventies heyday. The rainbow-laced sandals that graced model's feet also hailed from that era.

But back to the Ninties for a moment: namely that slightly oversized black trouser suit worn by Edie Campbell. It’s what Waight Keller does so well – a kind of soft minimalism – and it’s a shame she didn’t choose to show more of it on the runway alongside the peasant smocks – all frilled, laced and flounced – that are, by now, synonymous with Waight Keller’s Chloé. This is a brand that excels at summer dresses. If in doubt, cast your eye over the last exits: swirling with colour, lightly pleated cheesecloth falling in ruffles and loose ties and tassels. All a girl could want. Even if your name's not Kate, Chloë, Cecilia, Corinne, Rosemary, Emma or Courtney.

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