the importance of karl largerfeld to chloé
In a tribute to Karl Lagerfeld, Natacha Ramsay-Levi turned the dial on the Chloé-girl-chic he helped create.
As the fashion industry continues to mourn the loss of one of its most talented and iconic figures, Chloé paid tribute to the late, great Karl Lagerfeld. Tears were shed in Milan as Fendi presented its final Lagerfeld designed collection and minds began to wonder just how Chanel would honour him. Until then, Natacha Ramsay-Levi turned up the dial on the Chloé-girl-chic Karl helped create.
While Karl Lagerfeld is synonymous with Chanel and Fendi, his 25 years at Chloé should not be overlooked. Under his creative eye -- Karl was creative director at the brand twice, initially between 1963 and 1983, and again between 1992 and 1997 -- the late designer chicly underlined the Chloé signature of bohemian romance through bold prints on flowing dresses that revelled in fluidity, movement, lightness and joyfulness. There was a reason his designs became the go-to for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Brigitte Bardot during his first stint as creative director during the 70s.
Natacha Ramsay-Levi has built on these house codes and renovated the house in the process with an evolving modern femininity, adding tailleur to the flou, a hardness to the soft.
“Chloé pays deepest respect and gratitude to Karl Lagerfeld for the incalculable genius he brought to us over his 25 years with the house,” the commemorative postcard show notes explained. "His joyous capturing of the spirit of the Chloé woman is eternally treasured by us, and by everyone who felt the freedom and beauty of wearing his clothes." Before the show opened, the frow flicked through the postcard memories of the Kaiser’s time at Chloé and were treated to a series of Karlisms. "My dresses are for women who go beyond the obvious… they're made to transform everyday life into a fairy tale, to create an atmosphere at every moment” -- a quote taken from an interview with Vogue Paris back in February 1977. "For me elegance is the opposite of ennui, of conservative chic and obvious style. Elegance must be continuously reinvented, for each woman," he told Elle back in September 1970. "The essence of modern dressing -- unstructured, weightless, totally feminine,” is arguably the Karlism that echoed loudest throughout this collection, updated for the Chloe girl of 2019.
From an aurora borealis through to lost forests and ancient seas, Natacha Ramsay-Levi looked to nature as she navigated her clan of Chloé girls through the “territory between love, passion, and commitment.”
“With a pioneering spirit, she explored the intimate landscapes of the heart,” the show notes further explained. So, there was a battle between worlds. The trappings of old world ceremony clashed with the needs of new womanhood. Equestrian and naval regalia were reclaimed, adding a sense of conquest while aquatic flowers bloomed to bring a sense of fantasy. Throughout, deconstructed archetypes and brass button outerwear and flou became entwined in fitted redingote or cape shapes, open kilt skirts, and slim, high-waisted flares. Next season’s must-have boots were square-toed with a stacked heel and were inlaid with piped leather, checks and ribbed knit. The iconic C bag was reinvigorated in two-tone ombré leathers, which encapsulated the collision of worlds, old and new, the Chloé girl then and the Chloé girl now.