On the heels of her back-to-basics statement for spring, Natacha Ramsay-Levi focused on house classics for her pre-fall collection for Chloé. Having cycled through Ibiza party girl, Greek goddess and equestrian themes in past seasons, the designer has set about constructing a timeless vocabulary for the brand.
Among its building blocks: tie-neck blouses, floaty crepe dresses, masculine pants and blanket capes. Ramsay-Levi jacked up the masculine-feminine contrasts, pairing a ruffled ivory blouse with oversize pleated beige pants, or a sturdy tweed overcoat with seductive pleated black culottes.
“It’s French bourgeoisie meets British countryside,” she said. “It’s quite grounded and pragmatic. The volumes are soft, but always with a balance between feminine and masculine, delicate and structured.”
Emphasizing the sustainability aspect of her new approach, a third of the collection is part of Chloé’s recently launched Signature collection of items that will be renewed each season. “We don’t need to reinvent fashion all the time. I think it’s tiring and it makes no sense,” Ramsay-Levi explained.
Working with a palette of fall colors, from chestnut and navy to rust tones, she kept the fabrics surprisingly lightweight, even on outerwear styles like an unlined check wool trenchcoat and a brown leather aviator-style jacket with a shearling collar.
The designer added a dash of romance with Art Nouveau-style flowers, embroidered on the neckline of a spaghetti-strap slipdress, or lace insets on items including a white knee-length skirt worn with a superfine moss-green sweater with a wide ribbed collar and bouffant sleeves.
The new approach marks something of a turning point for Ramsay-Levi, who has a reputation as a conceptual designer, having worked closely for years with Nicolas Ghesquière. But she insisted the initiative came from her, and the designs she is reprising are not archival but bestsellers culled from her three-year tenure at Chloé.
“It’s something I’ve wanted to do from the start, so this is not a hardship — far from it,” she said. “I need this: it’s a foundation that allows me to be playful elsewhere.”