The Chloé woman has always stood as a kind of pillar of French style. In 1997, then-rising star Stella McCartney honed the hopelessly romantic Parisian aesthetic before fashion luminary Phoebe Philo took the reigns in 2001, steering the House to a chic, distinctly French bohemia coveted by all – Francophile or not. It was also the beginning of Chloé’s formidable ascension into leather goods, with Philo cultivating the first ‘it’ bag of the era, The Paddington; a slouchy hobo satchel with chunky padlock that clung to the arms of every celebrity and willing fashionista alike. Despite the innately French DNA of the brand, interestingly, both McCartney and Philo were Brits, and in 2017 the House assumed a native for the first time since Martine Sitbon the ’80s, Nicolas Ghesquière’s right-hand woman at Louis Vuitton, Natacha Ramsay-Levi.
Today in Paris, Ramsay-Levi presented a collection that felt wholly French, or, what a foreigner perceives the French woman to look like. A true sophisticate – sans the stereotype – silhouette was dégagé and languid, taking the form of pleated, tissue-like chiffon dresses that moved gently, gracefully. Tailoring was effortless and vintage-inspired, ’70s pussy-bow shirting, pinstripe blazers and breezy Bermuda shorts in leather and tweed were layered atop long-line girly bloomers, a deft yet surprising touch. Even the boudoir was visited, a riff on corsetry manifest in sculputral bodices treated with quaint rose buds at the bosom.
While the subtle details of Chloé’s bohemian spirit remained – frothy shirring, paisley, stacked platforms – Ramsay-Levi’s new Chloé woman isn’t so much an intrepid vagabond, rather a culturally-atune style savant who moves through life with a placid yet self-assured quietude. Even her hair spoke volumes of who this new woman was; softly mussed to the side, insouciant but deeply sensual.
But a striped slogan tee with puffy sleeves perhaps summed it up best: Handle With Grace. Indeed, that’s exactly what this new Chloé woman stands for; poise, panache but above all else, grace.