October 06, 2006
Since Chloé is waiting for a new designerPaulo Melim from Marni to arrive, the spring show was necessarily a case of keeping the brand in a holding pattern. That considered, the team did a respectably unadventurous job of keeping the best-selling items warm: fragile blouses, short Empire dresses and, of course, the shoes and bags. The theme, according to the notes, was Gloria Vanderbilt, which apparently was indicated in log-cabin patchworks (her personal hobby) and that peculiarly seventies palette of ochre, brown, and purple. Meanwhile, there's no change to report in the silhouette, and no news that moved Chloé on from the template set by Phoebe Philo some while ago. The thing this middling collection illustrated best is the gulf between imaginative design and just designing a line. Let the first go, and you are no longer in a leadership position and, in this instance, heading toward the territory occupied, at a lower price point and with more spirit, by Marc by Marc Jacobs. With the best will in the world, this is not the sort of thing people come to Paris to see.