To create a responsible brand in the 2020s entails more than choosing sustainable materials and cutting down on manufacturing and shipping costs. As Gabriela Hearst, the creative director of Chloé sees it, building awareness into the marketing plan is part of the process. “The problems fashion has are the problems that all industries have,” she said. “The world’s energy supply is 85% from fossil fuels, and if we don’t eliminate that situation we’re really walking into suicide. All these alternate energy sources – wind power, solar panels – don’t have the capacity.” Fusion, Hearst explained, could make up the difference as we wean ourselves off of oil. “In a nutshell,” she said, “fusion is how stars are made. It’s the energy that moves the universe.” She promised “a much bigger experience of it,” at the Paris show in September. Here, the fusion lesson consisted of broderie anglaise and laser cut leather in the form of stars and a night sky palette of strictly black and white, save for a single red dress with a scoop neck and full poet sleeves. She credited Joel Cohen’s recent adaptation of The Tragedy of Macbeth for the corset shape of dresses accented with knotted leatherwork evocative of medieval chainmail, and leather jackets and vests patchwork paneled like armor. The novelties this season were twofold. First, she collaborated with Barbour, the British outerwear company renowned for its waxed jackets, on a trench ruffles details and on a poncho, a shape she has a soft spot for. The denim corset dress, duster coat, button-front vest, and a-line skirt are the results of a project Hearst dreamed up with the California jeans expert Adriano Goldschmeid. They’re composed of 87% recycled cotton and 13% hemp; that’s an earth-friendly equation. The only thing that Heart could work on – and that’s something she started last season – is her aesthetical direction for Chloé. Should this brand really be all about minimalism? Monastic and prim? There’s no need for another Jil Sander or The Row.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.