In Search For Renaissance. Chloé AW23

As usual in case of Gabriela Hearst‘s vision at Chloé, sustainability is the ultimate priority. She’s an expert on scientific progress, political initiatives, knows how to effectively replace environmentally damaging fabrics with better solutions, and she’s also a long-term supporter of many NGOs. She manages to pack all that ambition into her designs for the French brand and her eponymous, New York-based line. Sometimes, at an expense of the creative side of her work. The autumn-winter 2023 collection was, however, a bit more daring in terms of the “fashion”. Hearst found a muse, and that is Artemisia Gentileschi, the Renaissance painter. However, don’t expect baroque costumes. There was instead a lot of shearling and leather (the by-products of meat), fine-gauge lacy knits, and the ponchos. The vaguely medieval-inspired vertical strips of leather in yellow, black and white, and the harlequin pattern that emerged toward the end of the show, was a distant interpretation of the Gentileschi theme. “I like it that nothing is gimmicky. They’re not clothes for Instagram,” Hearst quipped. “I’m tired of working for Zuckerberg all the time – like, where’s my check?” I get her point, but… The Row, Lemaire and Hed Mayner are also brands that offer a non-gimmicky look, but this doesn’t mean their collections are that plain-looking. The best look from the Chloé show was a dress with vivid patchwork embroidery in the craft style of “Central America”. Sadly, Hearst just dropped that idea in the middle of the show, without expanding on it. And that that was actually a Chloé-kind-of look: feminine, a bit quirky, intriguing. The designer should try a more spontaneous, laid-back, less-serious approach in her creative process.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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