PFW SS14 day 1 dawned muggy and overcast but for once I couldn’t have given less of a monkey’s rump about the weather because I was in PARIS! Visiting the most undeniably, borderline offensively beautiful city on the planet always fills me with joy and the usual jubilance I feel being here was multiplied by a million because I was clad in head-to-toe Chloé and off to the Kenzo show.
I wore: Blouse, Skirt, Bag & Shoes all by Chloé
On the subject of this particular outfit, I rather wish I’d had the time, energy or inclination to do a midday outfit change. Don’t get me wrong, I am completely and utterly in love with its prim and proper pastel prettiness but basically every single other show goer was clad in Kenzo. I did feel like a bit of a tit among the eye motifs, baseball caps and new balance trainers. But the lovely folk at Chloé had offered to dress me for their show later that day and no WAY was I forgoing the opportunity to wear Claire Waight Keller’s unutterably elegant creations for the sake of not sticking out like a sore (but hopefully chic) thumb at Kenzo. When I told my hosts the venue’s address the previous evening they laughed in my face because Kenzo like to hold their shows far, far away from the center of the city, presumably just because they can. Admittedly the place was totally worth the trek; a vast glass hangar like structure somewhere in the suburbs, both an awesome location for a fashion show and a testament to the pulling power of the brand. Once inside I noticed many people popping out what appeared to be a fire exit to smoke which made me smile; only in Paris would that fly, try it in New York and you’d get lynched!
As expected, the FROW was occupied by Susie Menkes, Hamish Bowles, Caroline Issa (rocking some supremely stylish slouchy, pinstripe tailoring) Lucinda Chambers, Anna Dello Russo, Imran Ahmed, Harley Viera Newton, Chiara Ferragni (sporting a lion print Kenzo two piece and very big hair) Susie Lau… And various unbelievably cool Kenzo clad Asians who made me feel more than a little out of place all over again. A glance at the show notes informed me that Kenzo were another label to look to California beach culture for their new season inspiration. I was very intrigued to see how Carol and Humberto would put their own unique, witty spin on this much-repeated SS14 theme. A mere half hour late a beat struck up and water began pulsating from the lamps on floor we’d all been eyeing, now illuminated in blue and white. Suddenly a full waterfall began streaming from the ceiling at the end of the runway and a troop of models lined up behind it, offering us a glimpse of the pack a punch prints we’d soon be coveting.
The first looks to hit the catwalk offered slouchy tailoring, oil slick leathers and wave cut edges in homage to the designer’s oceanic inspiration. From there it moved into cool blues, deep seaweed greens and finally eye popping fuchsia featuring geometric, hand drawn aqua motifs and melted fish prints prints and styled with neoprene bags that resembled hyper modern fishermans nets.
There was shimmer and shine a’plenty by way of drip embroidery and reversible sequins adorning crop tops, dresses and neatly cut separates with concealed zips adding to the wetsuit worthy sleekness. Strip away the show styling and element of spectacle and the collection was fundamentally functional in a wonderfully “look at me” kind of way. That, I feel is the secret to Kenzo’s success, we all lose our minds over it on the catwalk then, some six months later, wear it every day.
Print and shine with an urban, tomboy edge; trust Kenzo to concoct a cooler and more covetable take on surf chic than any other label. But it wasn’t just lovely clothes for their own sake. The brand have recently partnered with The Blue Marine Foundation so those punchy prints and statement separates are as much about bringing awareness to deep sea conservation issues as making best dressed lists. So, if you needed any further excuse to add to your Kenzo collection there you have it.
After a somewhat frantic metro journey in my two sixes two big shoes (turns out, just as agonising as too sizes too small) I arrived at the Place Vendome for show number two, Ellery. An utterly exquisite venue from the outside, equally charming once inside the intimate yet positively regal space. I was delighted to spot a few familiar faces and got to have a nice catch up with fellow Londoners-in-Paris Phil Oh, Vanessa Jackman and Bonnie Rakhit before the show began. Kym Ellery is being hailed as one of the hottest up and comers to know and Hollywood’s already obsessed with her divine designs with Madonna’s stylist rumoured to call in on the atelier regularly. As such, the FROW boasted some pretty major names including Bryan Boy, Natalie Joos, Candice Lake plus some less major ones, i.e. me.
At exactly midday the first model emerged ushering in a collection that fused classicism and modernity by way of couture silhouettes paired with oh-so-OTM metallic accessories. Timeless styles like black and white evening gowns and pinstriped tailoring had been reworked for the contemporary wearer with “off” twists such as pockets peeking from below super short tailored shorts, cropped, fluted sleeve satin peplum tops and ball skirts slung low enough on the hips to make your mother have a fit.
Immaculately sculpted silks and cottons came expertly contorted, draped and suspended as if by magic off the models’ ethereal frames, an old meets new vision with an air of haute nonchalance. I was rather less keen on the wicker like constructions but Ellery’s incredibly work with textures ranging from glittery graphite to metallic woven linen and stiffened gauzy chiffon. A varied and intriguing colour palette spanned from monochrome through metallics to glimmering burgundy and saccharine shades of blush and mint kept sharp by cleaner than clean lines, immaculate construction and an absolute absence of embellishment. Delectable ponyskin footwear was simple the icing on the cake.
After piling out of the venue armed with excellent goodie bags (coffee, scented candles, face creams and more) I strolled, or rather hobbled, to the nearest Starbucks. I know, I know, it’s a crime when in Paris but I needed wifi and a skinny latte asap so – excuse impending – it seemed like the only viable option. For some reason unbeknown to anyone including me, despite having spent really quite a bit of time in Paris over the past few years, I always spend my whole time getting lost. Perhaps this has something to do with my dependence on google maps (turn the iPhone data off and I’m screwed) or possibly my brazen inclination to set of at speed in random directions. Either way, I managed to spend 3 hours doing two showroom appointments and before I knew it, the Chloé show was up.
If you’ve checked out the blog anytime since, well, ever then you’ll know how I feel about Chloé. From the label’s rich heritage – not to mention the legion of game changing designers who’ve stood at its helm – to it’s stealthy cult hit pieces and the women who wear them, as a fashion house it’s nothing short of an inspiration. To be attending the Paris catwalk show while wearing the clothes was a thrill I could never have envisaged experiencing. In case you hadn’t realised, there may be some gushing coming up but I can’t help it, every aspect of Chloé SS14 was just incredible. The seasons’ venue was the Lycée Carnot, a traditional Parisian former school in the 17th arrondismont of the city. Inside the atmosphere was electric with Chloé clad beauties swinging their Marcie satchels and tossing their polished-yet-undone locks as far as the eye could see. On the FROW opposite my seat were Olivia Palermo, Iggy Azalea (looking very demure in cream broderie) Leigh Lezark, Anna Dello Russo, Harley Viera Newton and Coco Rocha providing me with ten minutes outfit ogling until the show began.
The collection itself was the very epitome of effortless stylishness undercut by a feeling of luxurious exoticism. Fluid fabrics and languid, long line silhouettes came in an array of luscious neutrals, putty hues and khakis creating a fantasy of easy, holiday glamour with finely ruched and pleated chiffon concoctions offering an after dark alternative. Ice white cottons embroidered with metallic thread, featherweight summer knits and laser cut, navy broderie anglaise numbers offered a fresh femininity while persian blue print dresses conjured up a desire to be twirling barefoot around the souks at night.
Chloé SS14 managed to exude a raw edged, relaxedness while being utterly immaculate. Distinctly non-flashy water green and faded blue sequins and opulent, burnished gold mesh sat alongside relaxed Summer tailoring paired with nonchalant cross body bags which simply screamed “buy me now!” In my opinion, it was a masterclass in modern elegance and one of Claire Waight Keller’s finest collections yet.
Love Ella. X