One in a series on the clothes that had a moment at Paris Fashion Week:
PARIS — Everyone was warned to arrive by 8:45 a.m. for the 9 a.m. Chloé show Thursday because there would be snarled traffic and security to clear, and the presentation was going to begin promptly. Promptly! And the fashion flock did as it was told because this wasn’t just any Chloé show; it was the debut of new designer Natacha Ramsay-Levi. In a season when many houses are welcoming new creative directors, this one was particularly anticipated: Ramsay-Levi worked at both Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga, and that is a very nice pedigree.
So everyone stood outside in an orderly little line outside Chloé’s Right Bank headquarters. But by 9 a.m. the doors had not opened. Then it began to rain. It rained on their vintage Chloé frocks, their impractical shoes and their very expensive sneakers. People tried hard not to be grumpy because really, these were not particularly trying conditions. Still, there was a mild sense of aggravation floating like a cloud when everyone filed in and found their seats.
And then, the first couple of models came racing down the runway, which wound from one salon into another. Rain? What rain? The models moved with confident energy in their flouncy dresses with bold shoulders and patterns that recalled a crazy psychedelic rendition of peacock feathers.
The dresses were short and sometimes paired with a leather jacket. There were wide culottes that were cut away at the sides, turning them into sort of a skirt but not really. Dresses that vaguely recalled prairie style were subtly embellished. And the clothes were paired with cowboy-gladiator boots.
Describing the collection requires a lot of hedging, a good amount of -ish and sort of, some kind of and almost. There were so many things that looked familiar and yet were different. Consider something as simple as a cropped skinny jean. The pants were cut and cuffed just below the knee and worn with high boots. The result is a pair of jeans with the sleek, smooth lines that result from tucking them into boots, but without all the effort. Because yes, getting a pair of jeans neatly tucked into a pair of boots does require a bit of work.
The clothes were understandable and accessible but they also looked new. The ability to walk that fine line is no easy feat. And when Ramsay-Levi walked out to take her bows, she did so to sustained applause. It was well-deserved. She had just offered women interesting ideas, a strong point-of-view and plenty of things to wear.
Also at Paris Fashion Week: