Confident and cool at Chloé
One felt like an extra in Blade Runner maneuvering past rush-hour pedestrians in a sudden downpour to enter the headquarters of Chloé on a damp Thursday morning in Paris. But, once inside, there was an oasis of calm assurance.
Any editor who mattered in fashion showed up for this 9AM show to witness a highly confident debut by Natacha Ramsay-Levi at the house of Chloé.
Designers can sometimes be trapped by slavish devotion to the codes of the house. Ramsay-Levi is clearly empowered by them. One sensed elements of the many great designers that have preceded her at Chloé – Karl Lagerfeld, Martine Sitbon, Stella McCartney and, above all the founder Gaby Aghion – in this collection, yet always on the debutant’s terms.
Ramsay-Levi clothes are cut clean and lean, yet still managed to flow – whether the ravishing prairie dresses finished with power shoulders in stiff lace; or the summer frocks with intriguing petal and bloom prints. Her prettiest pieces were the excellent cocktail dresses done in perfectly judged mixes of lace, silk snakeskin and bold mono-colors. All based on some great revamped, cut out cowboy boots in snakeskin. The same material seen in jaunty minis. Ramsay-Levi also whipped up some great velvet suits, several versions with a classic Chloé signature – a tiny prancing horse – were thoroughly chic. As were some very fine leather mannish four button coats, whose sheen underlined the rather 70s mood of this collection.
“Très chic, fluid yet strong. I liked it very much,” enthused Sitbon.
Nothing terribly revolutionary; not quite a fashion moment. But that’s not what one expects from Chloé – a house founded by Gaby Aghion to dress women and democratize fashion.
“I began by going to the archives. I really wanted to express all my love for Chloé – all its different designers, without hierarchy. Gaby had this generosity to find designers and give them this opportunity. Before Karl arrived she worked with many designers, and I did not want to betray that. For me fashion is a way to express your own personality. You dress in order to have a dialogue with the world and feel confident and be empowered. So, I feel women are strong in general and I wanted these clothes to show that,” explained the designer, who joined the house after spending 15 years with Nicolas Ghesquière, ending up as his design director at Louis Vuitton.
Indeed, the collection also underlined her influence at Vuitton, since the similarity in silhouette, color palette and overall Parisian mood was striking. However, the Chloé clothes were considerably easier to wear, and far less androgynous – and quite frankly all the better for that. In a word, a commercial and cool hit.
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