Clare Waight Keller is one quick study. Knee-deep in heavy wools and raccoon fur last season when she was creative director at Pringle of Scotland, the British designer expressed Chloé’s light-hearted, feminine spirit in a promising debut at the French house.
Her first wise move? Removing the roof on the sweltering tent in the Tuileries Gardens, letting in natural light and fresh air, underscoring the brand’s carefree, sunny disposition.
And her research of the company’s archives also paid off, as she discovered that Karl Lagerfeld, prized for his prints during his Chloé days, also used embroideries extensively. Waight Keller opted for hyper-realistic flowers crawling up the sides of white pants and shorts, or blooming all over a white blouse. They worked like a charm.
Pleats, a major trend in the European collections, were a key element for the designer and gave the collection an appealing swish and sweep. She opened the show with a series of long, flowing white dresses, the edges of pleats overdyed in café-au-lait brown or grass green, producing a sunray effect.
Eyelet, which helped send Chloé to the stratosphere in the mid-Aughts, reappeared as sleeves on a crisp linen dress with a shirttail hemline. Boyish elements, part of the brand’s allure, came in the form of roomy shorts and trousers, and sheer dresses shaped like dungarees and worn over a tunic.
Backstage before the show, Waight Keller said she wished to convey “a sense of ease and femininity.” Mission accomplished.