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5 Facts About The Chloé AW Show Paris

1) It Started With A Loving Tribute

Following the news that Chanel and Fendi creative director, the inimitable Karl Lagerfeld, passed away last week, Chloé honoured the late designer with images of his work for the house throughout his 25 year tenure.

The tribute featured images of Lagerfeld’s Chloé collections, designed between 1963 - 1983, with the seductive, subtle glamour of that era captured by Guy Bourdin.

It’s a mood that current creative director, Natacha Ramsay-Levi, still hopes to tap into with her own work. ‘[Lagerfeld’s Chloé] was how I'd known Chloé as a child,’ said Ramsay-Levi backstage at the show. ‘It's always about a very strong femininity, and it's glamourous.’

Accompanying the images were notecards featuring comments from Lagerfeld with the ‘Karl-isms’ for which he’s become known. Pithy one-liners, like ‘Elegance is the opposite of ennui,’ but also more profound reflections on nature, reflected in Ramsay-Levi’s looks for AW19.


2) It Was About The Nature of Things

Among Lagerfeld’s quotes on commemorative cards left on show-goers’ seats was one connecting fairytales with nature: ‘I love dresses straight out of fairytales. That are the colour of the moon. That are as bright as the sun.

Natacha Ramsay-Levi referenced this in the AW19 show. The name of the collection was ‘Nature, Love, Commitment,’ with a palette ranging from earth tones to aquatic blues. Shades were hot and cool - stone, burnt umber and ice - and deep navy lurex knits were made to ‘sparkle like a reflection in water.’ The accessories, too, featured shark tooth amulets with horn and feather motifs.


‘I really set this woman in nature,’ said Ramsay-Levi. ‘The beginning is very much grounded, and it’s about the highlands with kilts, Prince of Wales checks, and outdoor clothes to protect yourself from storms. But it's also a fantasy of nature that's about cliffs, tundra, and Iceland's volcanic sensuality.’


With references to the Aurora Borealis, ‘moving through forests and ancient seas,’ this was an exploration of ‘volatile territories’ - in everyday life and nature, with Ramsay-Levi commenting on commitment, passion and love. ‘For me, this is a signal of commitment to nature and commitment in life, sentimentally and politically.’

Against a backdrop of climate change marches, taking place throughout the shows in London and Paris, it runs counter to the narrative of an unimpassioned ‘Generation Snowflake,’ refusing to step outside and avert their gaze from their iPhones. It’s a timely reminder to engage with the great outdoors. It’s also a reminder that fashion is an effective vehicle when it comes to exciting us to engage with those topics.

3) This Was The Look of Love

Pre-show, Natacha Ramsay-Levi shared snaps of a matchbox invite featuring two hands touching. Last season’s matchbox featured one hand - Ramsay-Levi’s. This season we saw hers accompanied by her boyfriend’s.

The clothes, too, featured prints of a couple on a cliffside - a photo of a Chloé fit-model, and ‘a guy from the studio’ - shown in an ambient pink-tinged space (like riding through a Tunnel of Love, but we’re sure NRL’s reference was more high-brow…). There were romantic touches amid tough coats, and steely cuffs and amulets: toile de jouy blouses, ruffled ‘c’-logo hems and frilled collars.


This wasn’t just about love for others. This was also about love for ourselves, looking inwards and pursuing passions. ‘The Chloé woman is passionate; she's tumultuous,’ said Ramsay-Levi, referencing French sailor Florence Arthaud. ‘For me, the clothes are about drawing out the personality of the woman, rather than taking over the personality of the woman.’

Ramsay-Levi’s message isn’t one of cliché ‘empowerment’, encouraging women to step into better version of themselves that don’t yet exist. It’s about connecting with what’s already present (hence the heavy hint to engage with nature, i.e. what’s on our own doorsteps).

4) You’ll See These Trousers Everywhere

Among the subtly tweaked classics that will no doubt filter onto the high-street was the trouser shape of AW19. Say hello to the trousers you’ll see on every street-style star and editor.

Ramsay-Levi welcomed an update on her hit signature skinny-fit trousers: the ‘peek-a-bootcut’, slim at the leg, pooling at the ankle (with a slit to show-off your great Chloé boots).


These trousers are a new-season nod to the graphic horse prints and buckles on accessories from previous seasons, as there’s something equestrian (well, hoofy) about those hemlines… ‘That's why the music is galloping,’ laughed Ramsay-Levi post-show.

This is one of many clever takes on Chloé codes that we’ve seen since Ramsay-Levi joined the brand in 2017. From the shapes of trousers and jackets to those matchbox invites, we’re seeing recurring motifs that have fast become Ramsay-Levi’s signature. ‘It's the beginning of a new vocabulary,’ she says, referring the symbolic gesture on the matchbox. It seems that, with AW19, she’s taking ownership of those codes. The new #ChloeNRL hashtag on her Instagram says as much…

5) It Wasn’t All About The Great Outdoors

Sure, this was outdoor inspired fashion - blooming jacquards, rosy lace, and ocean-inspired knits - but there was also a bit of fantasy behind AW19.

‘I really started this collection by thinking about the story,’ she said backstage. ‘The collection starts very grounded but goes into a fairytale with a beautiful end, with colours and lightness.’


Lightness came with an unexpected reference, as well as the colour palette: 1984 kids film, The Neverending Story. Why? ‘In fairytales, you always have a challenge, and you ride through the challenge. In The Neverending Story, I know it's a kids movie, but at the end comes liberation and love. It's a commitment to riding through things more than it is an escape.’

So we assume, come Winter, between Ramsay-Levi’s epic, Arthaud-inspired trips, she’ll also be settling into a corner to browse Netflix…

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