The designer Gabriela Hearst teased her first in-person collection as creative director of the French fashion house Chloè with five images of the earth captured from outer space. Sharing the shots to Instagram—one of the blood orange waters of Laguna Colorada in Bolivia, another of Utah’s Great Salt Lake—Hearst made clear that her impending Spring/Summer 2022 collection was deeply inspired by the natural world. It’s news that should come as no surprise to anyone even remotely acquainted with Hearst’s work. Since exploding onto the industry’s radar with her eponymous label in 2015 (fans range from Meghan Markle to Katie Holmes), she has been a stalwart for a new generation of sustainable fashion collaborating closely with artisans who use the earth’s resources in ethical ways, and working to drastically lower the fashion industry’s carbon footprint.
Which is what makes her instalment at Chloè so remarkable: not only is Hearst tasked with carrying on the brand’s formidable legacy as the embodiment of feminine French cool (her predecessors include Karl Lagerfeld, Phoebe Philo, and Stella McCartney), she’s also expected to showcase the extent to which a modern luxury fashion house can embrace eco-friendly business practices. It’s a tall order—especially considering she is simultaneously running her own label—but one the Uruguayan designer has risen to remarkably. For SS ‘22, a collection she presented along the Seine River in sunny Paris this afternoon, almost 60% of the collection was made from low impact materials.
Patchwork jackets and leather dresses were crafted using upcycled samples from previous Chloè collections; cream linen suiting and day dresses were elevated with metallic detailing made from deadstock jewellery; the oversized, floor-skimming poncho dress was hand-painted with blue vegetable dye; vest dresses were hand-crocheted; and handbags were made by knitting deadstock fabric into braids. The whole collection—tight, only 31 looks, and genuinely size diverse in a way few collections have been this season—fulfilled its promise of acting like the proverbial north star for luxury houses on the topic of ethically-produced fashion. Anyone paying attention to the current environmental crisis would know that the sooner the industry moves to follow in Hearst’s footsteps, the better.