The thing about Chloé is the way it all seems to happen so naturallythe easy flow of the house style, the effortless blend of prettiness and practicalitywithout any of the hard-core hysterics so often attached to fashion behavior. That ethos applied in more ways than one to the handling of the fall collection, which coincided with another natural event at the house: the return of Phoebe Philo after giving birth to her daughter, Maya.
After her three-month maternity leave (and glowing with health from a recent holiday in Antigua with her mother and baby), Philo watched the show from front row and loudly applauded her posse of deputies when they ran out to take a bow at the end. "I'm so touched by what they did!" she exclaimed backstage, trying to deflect attention onto the compadres who finished the collection in her absence.
The clothes turned out to be an easy collage of Chloé's hot sellers: slouchy skirts with a band in the hem, neat little canvas Victorian jackets, and cool navy and black military coats, menswear pants, beautiful dresses, and a roster of the boots, shoes, and bags that cause wait-list mayhem the world over. Plus some exceptionally beautiful white lace Victorian dresses, virginal without being revoltingly cute (and bang on target for the season) to keep things ticking along.
In other words, there were no hideous disappointments or fallings from grace; plenty to buy, plenty for fashion editors to love. In truth, Chloé is a brand flying so high it can afford to stay in "team" holding pattern, at least for one season. But much as Philo blushed and tried to shove the limelight away from herself, it was no use. The show served merely to add "loyalty-inspiring manager" to her string of cool achievements. From any angle, she has star quality, and in a very modern sense. No wonder her bosses are bending over backward for her. From now on, she's going to be designing from an office in London, where she can be happy: designing, managing, and being a natural mom.