March 03, 2013 Paris
There is a certain English and boyish discipline that Waight Keller has added to the collections at Chloé—both in their style and substance. This appears to come from the lessons learned by being an accomplished menswear designer in the past. Today she used her skills to the full in presenting the idea of a schoolgirl growing into her own identity through style.
"It's about girls who emerge from uniform," said the designer backstage before her show. "It's essentially about girls creating independence through the way they dress." She eschewed the cute and the surface perversity of such a theme—this was far from a replaying of Britney Spears' "Hit Me, Baby…One More Time" moment. Instead there was an elegance and hauteur in what was presented in double-faced and pressed wools, tweeds, and fille coupe fabrics. That was the influence of the French house; the English-schoolgirl attitude—Clare Waight Keller herself went to school in Birmingham—came through in the show's soundtrack. This girl likes to listen to an old-school hip-hop mixtape, no doubt whilst being moody in her bedroom, featuring a preponderance of Roxanne Shanté.
The tough and the elegant came together in harnessed pinafores and capes with metal detailing; in the strategic use of leather, particularly in the gray leather jogging bottoms; and in the boyish boilersuiting. It culminated with an overtop and overdress both made by a chain-link fence manufacturer. These garments were given a luxe spin by having paste jewels embedded in them. It was a collection that was playful in a British-playground sense and precise à la Parisienne. It moved the "state of mind" of the Chloé label in a new direction and proved that girlish does not have to be girly.