Smart Femininity. Chloé SS21

This was a classic Natacha Ramsay-Levi collection for Chloé, meaning smart femininity that works everytime. Which doesn’t mean that there was no novelty about her spring-summer 2021 collection. There is a number of cliché topis and questions that pop up every moment during the post-lock-down fashion month: what will we want to wear after a year spent in confinement, should face masks be a fashion item, are socially distanced spaces a necessity? For Ramsay-Levi, those questions triggered some far bigger ones: How does our wardrobe affect the way we move and behave in the public space? How does it impact our body language? She staged her Chloé show within the monumental courtyard of the Palais de Tokyo. On three massive screens, live footage captured her models making their way to the runway – which was really, really good. Wearing the collection, the Chloé women were scattered around the streets of the area engaging in normal situations. Some were strolling down the bank of the  Seine, others were seen crossing a street or chatting on the steps of a building. Eventually, they stepped into the imposing courtyard with a different purpose to their step, visibly adapting to new surroundings. “The idea was to pick them up within their own intimacy of real life,” Ramsay-Levi said, referring to the cameras’ zoom lenses. “It’s about showing something that’s more attentive, more spontaneous, and more intimate, and taking time to look at a woman and the way she moves and acts in a much more natural way. Rather than just say, ‘Okay, you should walk like this.’” Her point was to study, evaluate and define the values of the everyday wardrobe Chloé provides for its customer. Since Ramsay-Levi joined the house in 2017, she has gradually been doing just that, editing and refining her expression to determine an idea of the essential. The answer to her questions this season clarified that approach to a further extent. “Things take time. We need to repeat things before we understand them. When I look at fashion, sometimes I only start to understand the point of view of a designer in the second or third season. I think it’s important to be committed to what you do,” she said. Her philosophy was reflected in a collection that largely built on elements introduced in previous seasons, and reduced them – in cut and decoration – to a sense of the universally desirable, and the more affordable, too. She loosened her Chloé silhouette, touching on the post-quarantine theme of comfort dressing, and toned down her embellishment in favor of a focus on colors. “A question that was very strong in confinement was: How long does a product last?” Ramsay-Levi said. “And it’s not enough. Basically, until we can change that rhythm, it’s important for me to be able to say ‘for a while,’ and not change my mind all the time. As far as being business-driven, it’s about being truthful and consistent. Some products only last three months maximum in a boutique. If you keep arriving with something new that makes that outdated, I think that’s not valuable as a position.” Food for thought for many, many in the industry.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.