There are many brands both large and small, who’s creations catch my eye each season but only a handful make my heart skip a beat quite like Chloé. As you might remember, I was lucky enough to meet the label’s wonderful Creative Directer, Clare Waight Keller and her charming CEO at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards last month. Afterwards I felt sure I’d made a right fool of myself, coming over all star stuck (understandable I think!) and stammering on and on about my bordering-on-obsessive love for Chloé. Luckily they must have taken it with a pinch of salt and since then I’ve had a couple more equally dreamy encounters with the team behind the brand, most recently earlier this week when they bought Claire’s Resort 2014 creations over to London.
It may have been 30 plus degrees in the city and I definitely should have been putting in some library time to work on my thesis, but no way in HELL was I going to miss out on the chance to preview this collection. And do you know what? My sweaty, guilty journey to Chelsea could not have been any more worth it. Everything, and I mean everything, in Chloé’s Sloane Street store was so exquisitely, elegantly, gobsmackingly gorgeous it was all I could do not to grab an arm load and make a break for the door! After spending about 20 minutes staring open mouthed at a particularly delectable powder blue aviator jacket, I finally made my way over to where the lovely team were sipping freshly squeezed orange juice (while looking enviably cool and collected) and we made our way downstairs to the showroom.
The Chloé Resort 2014 lookbook had been shot in a 1930’s school just north of Paris. Several shots had been set within a mesmerising old swimming pool, and this aquamarine, dapple tiled environment had been beautifully recreated for the presentation. But the space in which they were displayed paled in comparison to the collection itself. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a trip to Topshop as much as the next clothes horse (provided its not on a Saturday afternoon that is) but when I see designs of Chloé calibre, that reminds me why I fell in love with fashion.
From laser cut cotton lined with butter soft calf leather, to the barely there embossed metal labels bearing the Chloé logo, every single garment was an immaculately constructed composition of painstakingly detailed design and oh so careful craftsmanship. But despite the level of meticulous attention to detail and ingenious imagination behind them, I have never seen a Chloé piece look anything less than effortless. This attitude of fuss free, elegant irreverence, a truly pioneering move from founder Gaby Aghion in 1952, is the true genius of the brand and Clare Waight Keller executed it flawlessly this season.
I don’t think I could physically pick a favourite item. Just when I decided the two tone peachy tan Baylee (THE “it” bag for SS14) was my ultimate, I laid eyes on a pair of unreliable chic leather shorts and changed my mind. Then the laser cut cotton midi skirt caught my eye, then a pair of loosely tailored city shorts, then a cream and black sweater adorned with a playful “C” motif. This particular piece reminded me once again of the brand’s heritage. When Gaby Aghion first launched Chloé, her “luxury prêt-à-porter” designs were a far cry from what virtually all other couturiers were doing. In lieu of full skirts, cinched waists and formal silhouettes, Aghion created garments that could be bought off the (very high end) rack and thanks to their soft tailoring, fine fabrics and lack of corsetry, really worn by any woman. Much of the label’s success was thanks to the fact that their designs managed to be both classic and modern. Thanks to Waight Keller’s sheer skill and understanding of the Chloé DNA, this remains true over six decades later.
Love Ella. X