Gabriela Hearst pays homage to Chloé’s Left Bank roots for AW21
The American-Uruguyan designer is the latest to head up the French house, and presents her debut collection following the departure of Natacha Ramsay-Levi.
Gabriella Hearst — the newly appointed American-Uruguyan designer at Chloé — set out her stall at the brand quite perfectly in her AW21 debut. It’s a good season for first starts: everything is still just enough in flux to be exciting, there’s arguably less pressure and more flexibility than in a full-on IRL fashion show, and designers are able to propose bold new vision for our post-Covid re-emergence.
The show was staged on the locked-down streets of the Left Bank, just outside Brasserie Lipp and Café de Flore on the Boulevard Saint-German. It was an homage to the city that Chloé’s founder, Gaby Aghion, once called hers – Gaby staged the first Chloé collection at Café de Flore in 1956.
But more than just looking to some mythic, postcard or fairytale Paris, though, Gabriella set about building her new vision of the Chloé women, a woman who been seen through the eyes of talented, visionary designers over the years; Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney, Phoebe Philo, Clare Waight Keller and, most recently, Natacha Ramsay-Levi.
Gabriella’s new vision for Chloé was primarily centred around two things; ecological responsibility and practical femininity. It was a collection that was four times more sustainable than last year’s, a press release explained, free from virgin synthetic fibres, made with recycled denims, silks and cashmere. The clothes themselves felt timeless in the sense that they borrowed and drew inspiration from across the various eras of Chloé; homespun minimalism, femininity, clashing prints and textures, big show stopping coats, ponchos, knits, Grecian dresses, collaged leather. And it was those huge coats that felt like the main innovation in the Chloé look and silhouette.
It was an accomplished debut, that, with minimal fuss or overcomplication, set out Gabriella’s vision for Chloé; but, for a house than always prided itself on practicality, reality, the fun and joy of fashion, the ultimate test comes in the women who will buy and wear it.