October 02, 2011 Paris
Waight Keller's credentials include a fairly long stint at Pringle of Scotland, where she did a good job of getting to the soul of the cashmere company. Her stint at Gucci under Tom Ford doing knits couldn't have hurt. The challenge at Chloé, which will celebrate its 60th anniversary next year, will be which roots to return to—the Karl Lagerfeld years? Philo's heyday? The latter isn't as strange a proposition as it sounds. Now that the nineties have been plundered, the aughties are inevitably next. Some saw shades of Phoebe in a navy silk and cream chiffon tuxedo shirt. But it was Karl's name Waight Keller checked; the hyperreal flower embroideries on crisp shirts and flowy shorts date to his era.
Aside from those florals, though, it didn't feel like a radical departure from MacGibbon's recent work. "Fluidity and femininity, but boyish" were Waight Keller's buzzwords backstage; she made them reality with lots of pleats, tented A-line shapes, foundation colors, and full trousers. The highlights were the belted, below-the-knee pleated dresses with marquetry patterns. Overall, the collection was pretty, but perhaps a bit safe. Right now, Waight Keller has the fashion world's goodwill. We'll be watching next season, rooting for her to loosen things up.