Here are two little words that lift the spirits, and let’s hope we hear them more in the coming months and years: “Climate success.”
Gabriela Hearst made them the driving idea behind her solid fall 2022 collection for Chloé, expressed very literally on hand-painted bags and intricate intarsia sweaters: one side a brown and withered landscape; the other a verdant vista once nature had been allowed to heal and “re-wild” itself.
“We can think about the apocalypse. We’re seeing the fires, we’re seeing the droughts, we’re seeing the glaciers melting. But we need to start thinking of climate success,” Hearst said during a preview, her arms laden with documents and a thick diary where she catalogues where her ecological crusade intersects with her job as a leading fashion designer.
Hearst mentioned Isabella Tree’s book “Wilding,” in which Tree documents how she rehabilitated her dairy farm so that it became a “paradise where nearly extinct species in the U.K. started returning.” The designer has witnessed the same kind of rebirth at her mother’s ranch in her native Uruguay, and she plans to dedicate each subsequent Chloé collection to a new climate success, the next one being fusion energy.
Watching her models stride in cowboy-like boots over the gravel runway she installed in a greenhouse-like glass box, her eco manifesto was not emblazoned on sleeves — except when a model had a cashmere blanket draped on one arm, these depicting either a wounded or restored natural environment.
What registered was a sleek and sophisticated chic hinged on austere tailoring in flawless leathers and handsome tweeds. Hearst held out hope that her understated brand of mindful power dressing might coax more women into politics at a time when compassionate, clear-headed and selfless leadership is sorely needed.
Hearst pinged between mannish pantsuits and topcoats and her go-to X-silhouette leather dress with scalloped edges. Puffed sleeves on leather dresses added a soft touch, as did her arresting mélange sweaters in recycled cashmere.
Some might say this Chloé collection skewed too close to the aesthetic of Hearst’s signature line, but it’s a quibble when the clothes look this good, and are gentle on the planet to boot.
Hearst casually mentioned that Chloé’s multicolor, platform-soled Nama sneaker, introduced with her spring 2022 collection, has zoomed to become the brand’s number-one-selling shoe. “The fact that we’re changing the volume drivers of the business to a lower-impact means that we’re building it in a better way,” she said. A commercial and climate success, indeed.