Both Chloé’s ongoing success and widespread appeal has been accredited to Clare Waight Keller’s unique ability to hone in on what women want to wear. This foresight is presumably the goal of any creative director, yet hitting an emotional note with today’s women is something the British designer does especially well.
Today’s Autumn/Winter 2016 presentation was one of extreme contrasts. The free-spirited bohemian was reinvented with just enough new elements to keep things fresh.
A motorcross theme, an ode to Anne-France Dautheville, the first woman to ride a motorbike across the Middle East in the 70s, was listed as the inspiration behind the collection in the show notes, but this came off only subtly in the form of more leather than we’re used to seeing on the Chloé’ runway and ethnic elements in the form of beading and embroidery. Rest assured, there were also plenty of chiffon dresses, cascading sleeves, ruffles, sheer blouses and tiered smocks to keep the collection firmly rooted in Chloé’s romantic DNA.
Yet there were a lot of cover-ups in the collection, and this may say something interesting about who today’s woman, and more specifically – today’s romantic, really is. Parachute silhouettes and armoured looks in the form of capes, blanket throws and sheepskin coats, heavy knit Aran dresses, all hit the right note for their functionality as well as for their ability to conceal. Why conceal? These bold silhouettes in heavier fabrics perhaps tap into a new kind of romanticism that speaks to the modern woman - one that’s a bit more…restrained.
A noteworthy look from the collection in which a Nordic-print poncho is styled over a delicate chiffon maxi-dress hints at a particular hard-soft contemporary duality. It could be that even today’s romantics have their guard up.