Chloé A/W 2018

Chloé A/W 2018

Scene setting: It’s been a while since a fashion show was held at the Maison de la Radio, the imposing, circular building in the confines of Paris’s 16th arrondissement, right by the Seine. Designed in the late 1950s — the site previously housed a gas factory — its mid-century architecture deeply contrasts with most of the city’s Haussmannian look, and, after being inaugurated in 1963 by Charles de Gaulle, it immediately became one of the capital’s landmarks. This time, Chloé took over one of its spacious rooms overlooking the river. With its big windows, its ivory-painted walls and minimal look, it reflected perfectly on a collection more intent on essence than on ornament, but which still offered everything the fashion-savvy Chloé client needs.

Mood board: Like most Nicolas Ghesquière alumni, Natacha Ramsay-Levi’s woman has a regal aloofness to herself, often something closer to a fantasy character – like the female robot in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis – than to actual human beings. But the Chloé woman is very much human, and the designer is deeply aware of it. To prove it, this season she managed to mix her own graphic chic with the most feminine, Chloé touches. There were raspberry pink silk and lace ensembles and printed shirts, but also impeccably cut large trousers – the kind of perfect basic which is hard to find – ultra avant-garde jumpers and long jumpsuits with hint of a disco vibe. But the defining element of the collection was the cutouts, present everywhere and revealing new and unexpected erogenous zones, including the top of the stomach, the hipbones and the shoulders.

Finishing touches: Accessories have always been a best-seller for the Parisian brand, especially during the Clare Waight Keller years. Ramsay-Levi knows it and is making them evolve in a quiet way, still keeping some of their most distinctive elements — the golden hoop details, the organic shapes — while spontaneously bringing them closer towards her turf. Under her supervision, leather is printed, quilted and patchworked in new and unexpected ways. But what caught our eye most yesterday were the socks, worn over ankle boots and sandals and discreetly featuring the house’s logo. They truly marked the dawn of a new era of best-sellers.

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