Chloé Autumn/Winter 2021/22 Paris Fashion Week

City of Angels: Chloé’s Free-spirited Eco Heroes add some Romance and a Touch of Magic to Chloé Founder Gaby Aghion’s Left Bank.

Image and Video Credit: Chloé

Close your eyes and picture wintry Saint-Germain-des-Prés at night (think Hemingway, Oscar Wilde & Henry Miller’s café society). Only, the Left Bank was deserted, providing the perfect backdrop for Chloé’s models, one by one, to treacle out of Brasserie Lipp (where Chloe’s founder Gaby Aghion presented some of the very first collections) and stride across the ancient cobbled streets in their fringed hand-spun ponchos (or rather ‘puffchos’), clutching oversized matching holdalls to the tune of a hauntingly lovely female vocalist.

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A hand-spun ‘puffcho’ with matching repurposed fabric handbag to match

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A grungy Bedouin look in this horizontally striped knitted dress with its matching slip-on sandals

The clothes could best be described as somewhere between grunge, bohemian and romantic with a very definite flavour of North African nomad-style in the mix (and for that matter, some South American influence too – perhaps a nod to Gabriella Hearst’s Uruguayan heritage). Models clad in horizontally striped knitted dresses, matching bags and shoes in shades ranging from creamy beige to Moroccan burnt orange, amber and rust made their appearance, the long fringes and leather strips on their repurposed body bags bouncing as they strode, leather-thonged healing crystals around their necks swinging to the beat.

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An eco-leather shearling coat with detachable front panels, ankle boots and matching handbag

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A collarless belted coat

Belted beige dresses with typical Chloé details (like frilly insets) and long rib knitted or plain knitted dressed were either worn by themselves or underneath coats. A beige loose-fitting jumper made from recycled yarn (again, with lovely leather shoulder insets) was worn over a brown leather A-line skirt together with a long scarf to round off the look that so unmistakably says ‘Chloé.’ The company’s butterfly logo even made it as an appliqué on the back of a skirt (as a nod to the insect world and the use of pesticides in fashion).

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A very feminine pleated ensemble with frill detail

A brown shearling coat with loose front panels was one of the most striking pieces in the collection, as was a beautifully soft cream collarless fur textured coat. The belted and buttoned beige and nude two-toned trench coat would no doubt be a coveted asset with enormous longevity in anyone’s wardrobe. (Incidentally, all the leather was repurposed and the dyes used eco-conscious.)

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A two-toned semi-padded trench coat

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An ‘angelic’ empire line dress worn with healing crystals on thongs

A series of what can only described as ‘angelic’ floor length floaty cream and white dresses with exquisite shoulder details added more than a touch of romance to the collection. Grainy calfskin boots with fringes swinging from the sides were worn with these cream ensembles, with layering playing a key role in this collection that was well considered in every aspect – from its silhouettes to its environmental footprint.

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A patchwork coat in Seventies autumnal colours looks refreshingly new

Patchwork as a motif ran through this collection, and no doubt is symbolic of what Hearst tried to achieve with this, her first collection for the brand: from the puffer collar inserts in the ponchos to the very controlled scallops on the leather coats and finally, the large patchwork puffer jackets, all sent a message of recycling and repurposing as the way forward.

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A leather dress with scalloped and perforated details

More models poured out onto the street, this time dressed in purposeful (and repurposed) padded, oversized patchwork jackets and floor-sweeping coats worn over knitted jersey dresses, complete with snow shoes in a look that could only be described as ‘extremely chic bag-lady’. (In fact, these pieces were manufactured together with Sheltersuit, a nonprofit organization that helps the homeless.) A delicious psychedelic textile print peeked out from underneath one of these coats. I want! I want!

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A padded jacket in patchwork

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A cheeky psychedelic print peeks out from underneath a painterly padded jacket

This was Gabriela Hearst’s debut collection and an homage to Chloé founder Gaby Aghion and her beloved Left Bank café society. Gabriela Hearst was sure not to stray too far from the company’s tried and tested recipe and it’s more than likely that the Chloé girl – feminine and independent, bohemian and eco-conscious – will recognize her favourite details in the frocks, coats, bags and boots and will appreciate Hearst’s deliberate push towards sustainability and philanthropy within fashion. One wonders if the ultimate Chloé girl Sienna Miller has already pre-ordered her little stash of empire line dresses and shearling coats? My suspicion is that she’ll probably steer clear of the ‘bag-lady’ ensembles but …. this author may well be in the market for that floor-sweeping version of the padded affair. Closest yours truly will get to the red carpet.

Cecile Paul

Author at Pynck

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