Show Report

Show Report: Chloé A/W 12 Womenswear

by Alexander Fury on 6 March 2012

Alexander Fury reports on the Chloé A/W 12 womenswear show.

Alexander Fury reports on the Chloé A/W 12 womenswear show.

Fashion could give The Ministry of Truth a run for their money, not so much its seamless appropriation of the portmanteau to give a veneer of newness to otherwise pedestrian tweaks on everyday items ('skort' and 'shoot' are two of the most noxious contemporary offenders on that front), but in the perfection of Doublethink. In what other industry are terms such as 'commercial' and 'wearable' applied to the same items, at the same time, with entirely different meanings.

Take Clare Waight Keller's Autumn/Winter 2012 outing for Chloe. It's wearable, and it's commercial. But is that good or bad? Alas, that's in the eye of the beholder and is entirely subjective. In my view, this was the best collection Waight Keller has created for the house, and probably the best they've shown for a number of years. You were at least halfway through the foamy, structured daywear before you hit anything that jarred against the eye. Otherwise, it was sleek sailing through a dusty pastel palette of faded turquoise, fleshy pink and a rainbow of taupes. Those were the age-warped hues of a seventies Chloe advertisement mouldering in an old issue of Paris Vogue. Strange as it may sound, that's a compliment - another example of fashion double-speak.

Waight Keller came from Pringle, hence the daywear was strong but eveningwear slightly tailed off into Irish crochet smothering models from head to toe. There were a few interesting plays with clumsy proportions - the stuff that looks a bit clunky on first glance is usually what becomes more interesting over time. Likewise, the fact it was so easy to imagine Waight Keller's opening Chloe exit of blusher-puce pac-a-mac, lappet-trailing blouse and skinny peach trousers marching straight off the catwalk and into the Tuileries to be pap-snapped by hungry street-style photographers suggest its moment may be now, rather than next season. That, and a few other parts of this collection had whiffs of other designers' ideas from spring. The accessories were also unrealised: flatish shoes were nice but unexceptional, purses forgettable. The latter are something Waight Keller will, alas, have to remedy quick-smart if she wants the Chloe brass to keep her in at the helm of the house. Judging by this offering, she's worth having around. She has some interesting ideas about how women should look, and when she shakes off her odd, lingering doubts over her own talent and stops looking over her damn shoulder at what everyone else is doing, she's going to offer us something exciting, and convincing.


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