Last season, Hannah MacGibbon's sophomore effort for Chloe - all swashbuckling wool capes, tassel-cinched trousers and chunky, clunky heels - was one of the season's strongest statements, and certainly the best this French house had seen for a long time. It was understandable, therefore, that she should want to slow-down somewhat and reflect on these looks in her subsequent S/S 2010 collection. The horse-blanket cape-coats were there, this time caramel-coloured, sometimes in wool striped with cinnamon, sometimes with epaulette defining the shoulder (all that flowing fabric can be a bit too unstructured for its wearer's own good). Second time around, these still looked brilliant, tossed over breezy, easy wide trousers of pleated chiffons - and it seems this idea of wrapped, loose layers is what MacGibbon feels Chloe should be all about. It was there in a cape-backed black top with sliced-out midriff, in the tie-waist cheesecloth blouse with sliced-out back and frilly peplum, and in the great oversized, mannish blazers slung over everything. At the same time, it didn't seem to move us anywhere new. There's a difference between consistency and resting on your laurels. Some pieces even resembled garments that didn't quite make the cut last time, namely the leather-bound olive-drab army-coat and cream woolen toggle-front duffle that both looked less that summer-proof - in the sweltering afternoon heat of the Tuileries, you felt for the models, and for anyone buying these as a summer investment piece. If some pieces were far too wintery to really be successful, it luckily wasn't due to any lack of skill on MacGibbon's part. When it lightened up in cotton and linen, the slouchy tailoring undeniably worked - Lily Donaldson in cream trousers, white shirt and a loose, lapel-free jacket seemed the perfect summary of the modern Chloe girl. If MacGibbon has daywear nailed, however, her eveningwear leaves much to be desired. Very much in the dreamy, drippy Chloe tradition of pleated pastoralism, the finale was all flowing cream and tiered ivory chiffon maxi-dresses, revived straight from the house's back-catalogue. These were originally devised by Karl Lagerfeld back in the early seventies as an aesthetic response (read, escape) from the Yom Kippur war and perhaps it was only natural to assume that, in a season dominated by similar escape into feminine idyl, our current uneasy climate would be perfect for a re-introduction.. Founder Gaby Aghion recalled 'women fought to wear those dresses'. The brass at Chloe should have no such concerns over these frocks - but I'd start stocking the boutiques with those camel-capes and the covetable boxy shoulderbags MacGibbon slung over everything right now.
If some pieces were far too wintery to really be successful, it luckily wasn't due to any lack of skill on MacGibbon's part.