After last season's vision of a hard-stomping girl on the Chloé runway, a slightly different spirit blew in for Spring. She made one of the season's more offbeat counterpoints to the pretty chiffon drift of fashionit was romantic and layered, but with the retro-cuteness cauterized by an intrinsic graphic modernity. Paulo Melim Andersson's close-to-the-body, drop-waisted, flyaway patchworked dresses, which ran throughout his show, were partly abstracted, he said, from the idea of wind and sails (he's a keen sailor in his spare time.)
There was something fresh in the collection, which featured a lot of painterly prints that echoed Melim Andersson's previous tenure at Marni, as well as a few rare thoughts about how to make transparency passable on a daily basis. As diaphanous as the asymmetrically tucked dresses and tiny wrapped skirts may be at first sight, each one came with some kind of under- or over-piece to ameliorate exposure issues. The top pieces were long, sleeveless blazers (a Paris trend) or long-line knits, and the under-things were chiffon leggings or shorts.
If it wasn't perfect (there was a lot of repetition of that one combination of elements), by the end, there was certainly a clear image of what Chloé will be for summer. Better, there was also a sense in which this collection had reverted, in a contemporary way, to the old-time Chloé of the early seventies, when Karl Lagerfeld made it the go-to label for fashion-sensitive hippie girls. The fact that Melim Andersson managed to make this link, however tenuously, is a point in his favor. Though the memory of Phoebe Philo's recent successes at Chloé weighs heavily on his shoulders, this emerging young designer is right to start asserting a fresh point of view in his own way.