Boho is back at Chloé. Only Natacha Ramsay-Levi’s bohemian chic siren has shed the starry romance of her Clare Waight Keller predecessor, and any shred of sweetness, in favor of an earthier perspective. Ramsay-Levi named her look Hippie Modernism.
“It’s going to be summer, so I said, ‘Let’s face the bohemian inside of Chloé,’” Ramsay-Levi said backstage. Yet she wanted to place this woman not in some romanticized Seventies reverie, but in the here-and-now (although when you’re talking retro, a slight waft of it is inevitable). “For me, it’s this idea of hippie, people who have reinvented, rebooted a kind of [back-to-basics] life, and who have a sensuality, a sense of nature and modernism. Because, I mean, we are in 2018. It’s taking instincts from simple life, prosaic things, and trying to make them fashion.”
And so she did, in an impressive collection that shed some of the overwrought tendencies of her first two outings for the brand. Ramsay-Levi divided the show into sections, beginning with “Caravan,” her take on the nomadic life, its chic wanderers dressed in fluid pairings of nude tones and scarf prints, the patterns recolored from vintage originals. Part Two, “Ibiza,” found this peripatetic woman now settled into the artist’s life in Ibiza — the designer imagines her muse a ceramist, sensitive to pattern as well as the tactile allure of her clothes. She thus favored substantive fabrics akin to artisanal rug tapestries. Here, Ramsay-Levi wisely kept the shapes and layerings simple, as in a blue-and-beige jumpsuit, its raw-edged fringing swishing above the ankles. And she sometimes played the sturdy fabric against flou, for example, putting a puffed-sleeved crop top over scarf-print skirt. Along the way, in what Ramsay-Levi referred to as a literal take on this modernist bohemia, she paid considerable attention to surface texture with ribbed knits, soft pleats and guipure lace, the shapes both body-con and with controlled volume, but always cut for ease.
Throughout, demonstrative, artisanal jewelry intensified the collection’s appealing New Age vibe — bold, dangling earrings; rings worn in multiples; bracelets on lower and upper arms. The show closed with an ode to the oft-appropriated style of classical Greece, the gentleness of pleated dresses offset by warrior harnesses set with big cabochon stones. These looks were inspired by Medea, specifically, Pier Paolo Pasolini’s 1969 film with Maria Callas in the title role. You know, the scorned woman who offs her kids? As previously noted, boho, but not sweet.