Little-known fact: shoe designer Chloe Gosselin was a former hair model — and what’s more, she financed the launch of her shoe biz on earnings from that endeavor. She also happened to be among the designers chosen by the CFDA to utilize, in any way they saw fit, the “Fashion Stands With Planned Parenthood” buttons distributed throughout fashion week. She paid homage to both by creating a circle of models sitting in Lucite chairs on a round platform — facing visitors, backs to each other — wearing her shoes, tan slips and the Planned Parenthood buttons. The models were attached to each other by their hair, through a series of hair extensions designed by Rudy Martins that came together in the center of the circle and replicated the laser-cut leather used on the shoes. That’s where the connection to the shoes began and ended, but it certainly was an unexpected way to view the designer’s latest collection.
One reason the designer went to such great lengths to display the pins at her presentation is her passion about issues facing Planned Parenthood. In fact, she was so moved by the idea of the federal government defunding the organization that she revealed she’s working on a designer shoe e-commerce site that will donate proceeds to the group. Designers including Brian Atwood, Tabitha Simmons, Paul Andrew and Aurora James of Brother Vellies, among others, have agreed to be a part of the yet-to-be named web site.
As for as the shoes, she honed key looks that are brand signatures. From the start, she pulled details from tailored clothing to create the shoes. This season, Gosselin continued with core styles, enriching them with mixed textures; a plissé leather detail added to calf-leather sandals and boots; laser-cut leather mixed with python, and suede on signature booties and pumps. A new chunky-heel suede bootie combined a leopard calf-hair — a new print for the brand — on a vamp treatment. Velvet was strong for night and just the right place to add Gosselin’s new floral “brooch” detail on the toes of shoes inspired by a vintage store find. Another first for the brand: a strong platform evening style in rose gold metallic python, but it seemed somewhat out of step for a young label served best by forging ahead with its own unique point of view.