Every time Gabriela Hearst flickers onto a Zoom screen for a collection preview, you learn much about the climate crisis, gaze at some very luxurious clothes — and hear quite a lot about buttons.
Hard to fault the American designer on her “button game” at Chloé, where for pre-fall her narrow red suede coat fastens with orbs of cheery quartz, and ceramic buttons are lined up on her lovely dresses and polos in recycled cashmere.
Rich in fluted, bishop and puffed virago sleeves, ruched bodices, and gutsy colorblocking, her pre-fall Chloé collection has pleasing Renaissance airs, the theme etched lightly and with her inimitable design signatures.
Soft body jewelry draped over gossamer knits, for example, give the slightest suggestion of armour, while square portholes on broderie anglaise treatments — on leather, linen or knitwear — bring to mind the crenellations of old castles.
One of fashion’s most devoted and knowledgeable sustainability campaigners, Hearst brings a new “climate solution” narrative each season. For the upcoming fall cycle, she’s casting a spotlight on how empowering women represents a promising path to a healthier planet, citing research showing that women’s innovations, expertise and gender equality increases climate resilience.
She also cited a sobering statistic from the United Nations Development Program that four out of five people displaced by climate change are women.
For this collection, she stretched back a few centuries to find an inspiring woman, Artemisia Gentileschi, an Italian Baroque painter who Hearst described as “very well dressed, and also a badass.” Kudos to her for using her art way back then to advocate for women, always depicting them as protagonists.
According to Chloe, Gentileschi’s spirit is felt in the powerful yet feminine silhouettes, with V-shaped waists and square necklines among the period details.
Hearst’s eco credentials reverberate throughout the collection: 59 percent of fabrics are low-impact and all the denim pieces are made with 83 percent postconsumer products. “Beautiful trash,” the designer enthused, noting her patchwork coats in a variety of denim washes are achieved via laser, not water-wasting or polluting washes.
Sharing her screen and flicking through images of the collection, Hearst noted her patchwork leathers are lined in cashmere to make them more functional and each button is as beautiful as a jewel.
“I’m all about not shortchanging women,” she said. “My philosophy is about never discarding clothes but keeping them for longer.”