As we took our socially distanced seats on well-spaced benches along the steps at the Palais de Tokyo, images of models were projected live on three giant screens in the centre of the show space. We watched on as beautiful strangers were caught in the moment on the streets of Paris. The models were scattered throughout the rues and corners surrounding the show venue, some seemingly enjoying a walk under the Eiffel Tower; others in lively conversation with their equally well dressed copines, while a handful were simply enjoying a rare spot of sunshine.
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If this was a lesson on Chloe’s brand of Rive Gauche nonchalance, then the collection was a masterclass. Creative director Natacha Ramsay-Levi always juxtaposes feminine and masculine in the most Parisian way. The looks for this collection are both soft and strong, delicate and confident. Lightweight blouses were unexpectedly layered under singlets, styled like men’s undershirts. Floaty silk dresses were grounded by blocky sandals. The collection’s suiting carried men’s tailoring influences but always feminine — cinched high on the waist by oversized belts. The simplicity of the looks were contrasted by the bold, sculptural jewellery and hardware that exudes confidence. This lazy elegance is the result of an expert curation of just the right elements, built up in a deliberate complexity that looks haphazardly thrown together.
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Ramsey-Levi, as always, connected the collection with pop culture by incorporating artworks into the pieces. Silkscreens by Corita Kent between 1963 and 1967 were incorporated into a number of pieces as prints. Mary Corita Kent was an artist and activist, and also an American Roman Catholic religious sister. Through her graphic slogan prints, she advocated for civil rights, racial equality and justice. These slogans were printed on T-shirts and silk blouses, styled nonchalantly inside layers of boyish shirts and trench coats, on multi-coloured sweaters paired with 70s-style pants and mini skirts, as well as bags. One white boxy shift dress provided a blank canvas for the slogan that is at the centre of this collection: Hope
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Chloe Spring Summer 2021 is a tantalising glimpse into life somewhat getting back to normal — of moving freely, carefree in the streets of Paris, life without PPE. The title A Season of Hope was also befitting — this is the first Paris Fashion Week since the pandemic took over the world. Undoubtedly, the question on everybody’s mind was: Will fashion week survive? If so, would it ever be the same? Instead of searching for the answer with dread, we should look forward to the future with optimism. How fashion week will play out in the future is anyone’s guess but for now, it’s important that we continue to dream and cling on to hope.
All images by Beige Pill Productions