Clare Waight Keller wears the pants. That's not a feminist bromide; it's a sartorial fact. Even at the Met Gala last year, she opted for trousers. They've always been part of her vision for Chloé, but they've rarely seemed as front and center as they did today. And now's the time. Waight Keller has been at the label for a few revolutions of the fashion cycle: More than ever, the shots are hers to call. "It's the new Chloé proportion," she said, definitively, after her mini presentation today. "It's really my handwriting." The fluffed-up volume, the soft layers, the larger pants and cropped tops. "It's easy for me to wear," she said. "I'm not a supermodel proportion, and it's obviously bringing a versatility to other women as well."
The pants came in a few variations for this collection—a high-waisted, floppy version in Super 120s men's suiting wool; a cropped style with folded pleats—but despite the fashion quotient, they had what Waight Keller called her "barefoot attitude." The proportions are meant to be relaxed—so relaxed you can wear them with flats. To back it up, Waight Keller showed flats: neoprene slides like glorified shower shoes with a gleaming gold band, and a flat sandal whose gold ankle fastener is modeled on the cuffs that tether surfers to their boards.
There were great bits throughout, like a sweatshirt inlaid with guipure lace and the layered "trenches" that separate into gilet and bolero. There were feminine dresses too, even if, on closer inspection, most had the pull-on ease of T-shirts. If you were looking to nitpick, you might say that the odd piece here or there had echoes of others' work. But on the whole, and especially in those trouser looks, the collection bore Waight Keller's own firm stamp. As if to christen that occasion properly, she introduced a floppy new bag, and called it the Clare.