Clare Waight Keller signs off at Chloé
“The Chloé girl is always about a girl. She is not a woman. A really confident, very feminine girl. And I think I really captured her,” smiled Clare Waight Keller backstage, summing up her time at Chloé after presenting her final collection for the 65-year-old label.
Calling it psychedelic optimism, Waight Keller whipped up a jaunty take on fashion, from sky-at-night-print cocktail dresses and mini dress versions in guipure and lace. Patchwork sexy joggings in combinations of suede and leather – all very Me Decade 1970s – looked superb, as did boldly-cut track pants in blue and white, topped by inside-out shearling bomber jackets or girl-next-door dresses with Sergeant Pepper collars. Indeed, the spirit of Mary Quant wafted through this very British collection staged in the Grand Palais.
Waight Keller joined Chloé in 2011 after stints at Pringle of Scotland and Gucci. Her stay in Paris at Chloé has been an unquestioned success, building the house into a highly-watched label, whose influence is apparent in mass-market labels like Zara and H&M.
“I wanted to be remembered for bringing a British mix into a French house. They always had British designers but I wanted the influence and cultural references I grew up with. I touch on that today with the track pants, lumberjack shirts and the musical references, which is important in England. I’d like that to become part of the Chloé codes,” continued Waight Keller, whose soundtrack featured The Human League.
In the celebrity backstage, CEO Geoffroy de la Bourdonnaye said the house would make an announcement after fashion week was over about Waight Keller’s successor. However, it is understood that he has chosen Natacha Ramsay-Levi, a stylist – and not a classically trained designer – who has played a key role as Design Director at Louis Vuitton, working for Nicolas Ghesquière. Historically, Chloé has always attracted young designers who went on to become global stars – like Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney and Phoebe Philo.
Asked about her future plans, and rumors that she might be going to Burberry, Waight Keller demurred, responding, “I am off tomorrow, back home to World’s End,” referring to the London district at the end of the King’s Road.
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