Gabriela Hearst went for a more laid-back look for Chloé‘s spring-summer 2023 collection. Her sustainability-forward ambitions, however, aren’t taking a rest. Hearst dedicated her latest offering for the Parisian maison to the promotion of fusion: “It’s basically the energy of the stars and the universe,” she said, flanked by representatives from ITER as well as Commonwealth Fusion Systems and Helion – companies which are working on harnessing this benign source of energy through giant round devices known as tokamaks. They can’t be used to produce a fashion collection, but, as Hearst said, “Eventually they will, because we’ll need the energy to make clothes. Imagine that whatever is a coal plant now will be a fusion plant in the future. The future is close.” She arranged the seats of her show to mimic the circular shape of the tokamak and surrounded the structure with hoops hanging from the ceiling and laser lights that evoked an industrial rave. That feeling reverberated through a collection that served as a figurative ode to fusion power, adapting the curves of the tokamak into silhouettes and surface decoration that looked part power plant uniform and part retro warehouse party. “The most important thing you need to know is that this is a source of clean energy with very little waste. A glass of fusion fuel can power a house for approximately 800 years,” Hearst said. All that sounded promising. But what about the actual clothes? I feel like the designer still has a problem in establishing her signature Chloé look. Knitted dresses with cut-outs created from recycled cashmere and blazers constructed in linen could use some rigor in their cut. Utilitarian outfits in head-to-toe certified European leather had the trending “Motomami” vibe that felt slightly out of place in Chloé’s lexicon. There was a coat with metal fastenings, made from recycled cotton that looked like denim, fully adorned with heavy-duty eyelets. In this spectrum of ideas, the concept of “fusion” was quite visible. Hearst needs a more bold, stylist-like approach to truly make her collections appealing in the future.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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