Every season has its standout shows. This Fall ‘12 was no different. The set designs from Marc Jacob’s eponymous line and his work at Louis Vuitton could inspire a smile from the most jaded of fashion hearts. Everyone swooned for Phoebe Philo’s colour-blocked furs at Céline or Alber Elbaz’s anniversary collection for Lanvin.
Of course I loved these collections as much as the next person. Yet, if I were to pick a collection that should resonate well with the modern woman, it would have to be Claire Waight Kelly’s line for Chloé.
The collection was decidedly British - tweeds, sober tones and roomy sportswear seemed to dominate the collection of 33 looks. If anything was to be decided from the first look, you could say that the collection could be a British interpretation of the French house’s signature insouciance, mixed with the timelessness of English countryside sportswear. The peach duffel coat (a colour that I have taken a liking to, unexpectedly) paired with a muted blouse and pant felt right - it was sensible and stylish without being saccharine or seeming like too much thought went into the look.
Kelly’s strength has been in knitwear, having done time at Pringle of Scotland previously. Culottes featured elastic hems, and pants were finished with a ribbed knit to resemble trackpants. Her pullovers were sumptuous, comfortable and loosely fitted. My personal favourite was one that looked as if Kelly let her kids go at it with some crayons. The result was a wonderful patchwork of coloured yarns finished with a gold zip up the back. It felt cosy, familiarly frumpy, and very English.
Chloé, the brand, has always been known for her easy yet charming dresses. Kelly respected that tradition with her Fall offerings too. They were girlish and light, picking up in the wind as it breezed by you. Some were drop-waisted, others featured a pop-up lace appliqué. They never felt brazen or ostentatious, rather, the sexiness of a dress solely relied on the charm and elegance of its wearer.
In closing, what Kelly tries to do here is not just design a collection. She’s proposing a lifestyle, a way of thinking when you dress up. She’s suggesting an easier, but not necessarily less effective way of looking stylish. There is a right mix of restraint, proportions and ease in her ideas.
With such a proposal, how could you say no?
Images from Team Peter Stigter and Monica Feudi