Farewells in fashion come thick and fast in the current good copy cycle. On Thursday morning in Paris, it was the turn of Clare Waight Keller who granted her final collection for Chloé after six years as creative administrator.
She went out on a high. For her final bow, Waight Keller was smiling and a glitter cannon – irresistibly cheery at all times – was let off at the end of the symbolize. It felt like a conscious uncoupling rather than anything myriad sinister.
The collection, soundtracked by the Human League, was equally favourable – in fact the show notes said it was about “psychedelic optimism”. That interprets to clothes that mismatched different eras – 60s, 40s, 90s, 70s – to develop youthful clothes to have fun in. These included pinafore chew outs over strong-shouldered silk blouses with wide bishop sleeves, slouchy trousers with effectual chunky knitwear and a red velvet minidress with a heart cutout unshakable to get a lot of love come autumn.
The edgiest designs came in more jarring juxtapositions: a couple of 80s ski pants paired with a 60s polo neck, and a brown leather-panelled tracksuit beat with Mary Jane sandals. That sounds liking it’s veering towards bad taste, but it’s also the height of fashion truth now. These looks will be the ones digital influencers and their advocates will be after.
Commercial appeal was straightforward in this anthology at all times. If some shows feel like a selection of pictures rather than clothes to wear, many of these could prowl straight off the catwalk and into the wardrobes of young women – those with occult pockets, anyway.
At a preview before the show, Waight Keller said she didn’t demand to do a greatest hits collection. Instead, she said it was about “continuing a different punctuation point at the end of what I have done here”. That meant a reassessment of the “elongated configuration” that defined her time at the house: slouchy trousers, Draconian shoulders and “lots of leg”.
She said a mix of references was also typical. “I swum in and out of different worlds with this collection,” she said. “Nothing manipulates referenced from a specific era because it all comes into the Chloé society.”
Founded in 1952 by Gaby Aghion, Chloé made its nominate with a kind of effortless femininity that had a no-nonsense eye on charwomen’s lives. This is something that Waight Keller, in the old days at Pringle of Scotland, updated for the 2010s.
In the last few seasons, Waight Keller hit her stride. There were accumulations of haute tracksuits, chic motorbike gear and, for spring/summer, La La Upon yellow frilled dresses. All received critical acclaim and were pre-eminent to trends like athleisure and frills making their way to the intoxicated street.
Waight Keller succeeded commercially for Chloé. Richemont, the assemblage that owns the house, reported good sales wen in 2016 with both ready-to-wear and bags selling swell.
Tallying with the current fashion of hiring within the commerce rather than big names, it is widely expected that Natacha Ramsay-Levi determination take the position of creative director. Known for her work with Nicolas Ghesquière, she is currently a higher- ranking member of his team at Louis Vuitton. Speculation suggests she wish not renew her contract, which expires at the end of March, and instead operate up the role at Chloé.
If Ramsay-Levi is hired, a harder, more street-focused verge is likely to be brought to the house. With Waight Keller, Stella McCartney, Phoebe Philo and Karl Lagerfeld once upon a time leading the design team, she will be in auspicious company.
Waight Keller announced in January that she would be resigning Chloé. In a statement, she said working at the house “has been one of the most enriched experiences of my career”.
Although her name has been mentioned in correlation with the open position at Givenchy, it is widely understood that her departure is for critical reasons. Waight Keller has three children and it has been announced that her decision was based on the commute between Paris and London befitting unmanageable.