In a precedented turn of events, fashion has returned to the game of musical chairs. Rodolfo Paglialunga is out at Jil Sander after three years; Lucie and Luke Meier are predicted to serve as his replacements. Serge Ruffieux has assumed the position of creative director at Parisian house Carven, the house that Alexis Martial and Adrien Caillaudaud departed in October. Perhaps the most important news is Givenchy: Riccardo Tisci has left the house and is to be replaced by Chloe’s Clare Waight Keller. Tisci’s clear vision promoted diversity, positivity and his eye for romance generally veered towards the darker side of things. This is in contrast to Waight Keller whose expertise lie in frilly, fancy femininity edged with athleisure and traditional notions of luxury.
For her final collection at Chloé—Waight Keller’s tenure lasted six years—she continued to advance what she started in the Spring 2012 season: femininity that tapped into an everlasting fervour for youthful femininity at a mature age, with connections to sportswear and timelessness. Chloé isn’t exactly a boundary-pushing designer but they have a designer with varying complexities—having earned her stripes at Calvin Klein, a minimalist house, and Gucci under Tom Ford, where she was a senior designer, at a seminal time for the house. There is something about marrying the simplicity of Calvin and the sophisticated and often throbbingly sexy Tom Ford that has helped Waight Keller build her aesthetic. She brought this with her to Pringle of Scotland where she helmed the house for a number of years.
Her aesthetic is interlinked with timelessness and sweetness rather than notions of expression of sexuality—hidden or blatant. It is why she is so commercially successful and is tasked with creative director roles at august brands. The 60s and 70s influences that dominated her Fall 2017 show made for a lineup of clothing that will forever hold a place in the Chloé customers’ wardrobe. There were abbreviated coats, in classic shapes, in classic fabrics. The short dresses were an interesting proposition, one that I reckon the customer will want to see styled differently. There was the playfulness of chiffon evening wear… One of the strongest pieces was an oversized jumper in mustard, grey and white, with the shape of two lovers. It captured her design methods in a look…
Chloé doesn’t constitute as revolutionary fashion. It is clothing that will serve its wearer well… Waight Keller completed her job successfully, presenting feminine designs with a French flair, but from the perspective of an Englishwoman. Every so often, there is a moment of true excitement in a Chloé collection, but as someone who favours collections that are either wholly engaging on a stylistic or intellectual level, this isn’t the brand you arrive at. If you have a penchant for practicality and an unassuming nature, this is where to shop.
Next season will see the arrival of Natasha Ramsay-Levi, a former design director of Louis Vuitton, who served as Nicolas Ghesquière’s right hand woman. It will be intriguing for Chloé, a French house, to have the perspective of a creative director who operates in a darker, more perverse and tough world of design. An interesting move, to say the least—another indicator of unsettlement in the industry. It will keep us on our toes… Doesn’t it always?