When an unassuming female stranger in a New York City diner hears Meg Ryan’s character, Sally, jovially gasping yes, one of the most iconic phrases in cinematic history is made: “I’ll have what she’s having.”
And why wouldn’t she? Sally was purportedly thrilled. Unintentionally, she sold something to that unobtrusive onlooker. It may have appeared like an innocuous meal but fundamentally, it was much more. A personal resolution or tangible aspiration or the faintest whiff of a different kind of lifestyle under the guise of just a gasp.
In fashion, this selling is always in progress.
Of course, it is much more pronounced — after all, the industry is one built on consumerism — but it’s also far less frequently that a designer actually makes you think I’ll have what she’s having. Or maybe more acutely, I’ll go where she’s going.
Such was the case at Clare Waight Keller’s presentation for Chloé yesterday when, in a dynamic 31-look presentation, the designer, who’s been at the helm of Chloé since 2011, provided ample space to be anything and go anywhere.
The stark use of color, predominantly blue and green, inspired by Corbusier that Keller noted as “a bit laboratory like, mixed with a bit of Provence,” married a sense of romance to the industrial nature of a city.
The breezy tweed, nonchalant fringe and layers of silk in spaghetti strap form remained true to the spirit of a season that was once contingent on vacation, while the fur and leather and transitional pants and robe coats alluded toward a truth we are all beginning to accept as universal — that Resort is no longer a buffer season. It may even be on its way to becoming a third fashion week season. Keller agrees, noting that, “It’s becoming hard to have [Resort] be in the isolated form of a small presentation in one city.”
Of course, that doesn’t detract from the clothes themselves, which do tend to evoke that sense of I’ll go where she’s going. This is what makes Chloé cool. That and the fact that it’s smart. It’s not just designed fashion — it’s manufactured style and achievable ease. It’s a different kind of French girl — one that tries but doesn’t quite understand, or care about her clout.
On her own style, Keller says, “When you’re in a city like Paris, people do make an effort. Even if it looks effortless, there is some thought that’s gone into it and quite precise grooming.”
This mirrors the design process, which she calls more personal. “I think [pulling a collection together] is about what I feel is interesting to wear because, of course, if you’re designing fashion you get bored of it. You’re thinking about the new thing that you want in your wardrobe. There’s definitely a personal element in there. I think there’s an element for me where it’s important to have a character.”
This season, the assembled character of Resort comes with a new home. Last night, Chloé celebrated the renovation of its flagship boutique situated on 70th and Madison and it’s not without fortuitous reason that the collection presentation and re-opening would occur in tandem. “It just gives everybody the sense that it’s a new feeling. You’re not in an old environment,” Keller said.
A pink coriander communal table stands in the front of the shop displaying accessories emblematic of Keller’s touch at Chloé, while surrounding handbags and shoes elevate the ivory stone and modest gold details that translate toward the upstairs room. There, ready-to-wear flourishes on rustic bleached wooden hangers among models dressed in the Resort collection, which will hit sales floors in November and incidentally answer that initial question of where is she going with a fairly simple answer — 70th Street.