The problem with resort collections presented in far-fetched destinations apply to nearly all, from Louis Vuitton’s presentation in New York to Saint Laurent’s menswear show in Malibu. The venue is spectacular; the audience is wowed; the clothes are, well, boring and far from amusing. Angelo Flaccavento, Italian fashion critic, grasps this perfectly: “these days, fashion is more about brand experience and storytelling than clothes, which most of the time are not as exciting as their packaging. The past month of traveling shows was a study in showmanship over clothes-making.” Natacha Ramsay-Levi‘s resort 2020 collection for Chloé was presented in Shanghai, specifically at Long Museum (at sunset). It’s clear the Chloé’s management has ambitions to make the brand stand in row with Dior and Prada. But does this match Chloé’s intimacy, so beloved by its clients? The entire event had to be quite an experience, that’s fur sure. However, the idea of a Chloé show in Shanghai, other than marketing, makes no much sense. Of course, the designer had some subtle references to the location. A lover of Chinese cinema, she had compiled backstage dozens of stills from her favorite movies by Jia Zhangke, Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Zhang Yimou, Bi Gan and Lou Yi. Another film, Three Times by Hsiao-Hsien, informed Natacha’s decision to explore China’s rich history, drawing on its empirical eras, the Art Deco period, and its contemporary buzz. The designer’s nods to Chinese culture were conveyed in details: the side buttons on a floral dress that evoked a qipao for instance. Tiny embroideries were inspired by traditional Chinese handwork. Yet still, in general, this was one of the weakest collections coming from the designer, which is quite disturbing. It lacked a ‘look’. The clothes, put separately, with no styling, don’t spark much attention. For pre-collections, Chloé is really, really fine with look-books.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki