At Paris Fashion Week, Natacha Ramsay-Levi’s debut collection for Chloé makes her one to watch
The first Chloé collection under the creative direction of Natacha Ramsay-Levi hit the runway here Thursday, marking the newest chapter in the 65-year-old fashion house’s history with a range of pieces that spoke to femininity, confidence and strength, and making the label one to follow closely in upcoming seasons.
Before taking the helm at Chloé in April and replacing Clare Waight Keller, Ramsay-Levi spent four years as creative director for women’s ready-to-wear at Louis Vuitton (under artistic director Nicolas Ghesquière with whom she’d worked for 11 years at Balenciaga), and for her debut Chloé collection she paid tribute to the history of her maison and its founder Gaby Aghion.
“Chloé girls have a suave mix of sophistication and humility; they are timeless but never conventional,” Ramsay-Levi wrote in the show notes, “I wish to continue to shape their course, staying true to the independent and intellectual spirit of Gaby Aghion; to those who perpetuated this democratic style, so resolutely feminine. So joyful. Existing without boundaries or hierarchy.”
That meant a spring and summer 2018 collection with recognizable references to the brand’s DNA — Victorian dresses, equestrian details and a peculiar, but lovely, shade of terra cotta, to name just three — but with the boho whimsy of the Waight Keller-era stripped away and replaced with strong-shouldered confidence.
Lace prairie dresses were embroidered and pierced; dark leather motorcycle jackets were paired with delicate, floral-print, knee-length skirts; and capelets flowed from the back of bare-shouldered tops. (Although she doesn’t wear a cape in her superhero incarnation, we immediately thought of Wonder Woman’s alter ego, Diana Prince, as the epitome of the new Chloé girl the moment we laid eyes on the capelets.)
There were also some safari-inspired looks, tarot-card motifs (tarot cards seem to be popping up all over the runways this week), a prancing horse motif plucked from the company archives that was allover embroidered on velvet jackets, suits and shirts, and a snakeskin pattern that appeared on trousers,skirts, dresses and tops.
The snakeskin pattern was also in the mix in a range of eye-catching boots with extensive lacing up the front and straps across the vamp and around the upper calf that hit the sweet spot between utilitarian and feminine.
There was a lot to like in Ramsay-Levi’s inaugural collection for the house and, if her Chloé girl 2.0 ends up having legs, she won’t have to go far to find them the perfect boots.
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