Chloé Pre-Fall 2024

Showing a pre-fall collection after the fall runway collection is becoming a “thing” among European brands, though Chemena Kamali has a unique reason: She wanted her debut Chloé show last March during Paris Fashion Week to be her first statement of intent, not the range quietly shown to buyers last December with a strict no-photos rule.

Yet that pre-fall effort, hitting stores in June, speaks with the same voice, the same spirit and the same enthusiasm about the French house, synonymous with free-spirited, effortless femininity since 1952.

You can understand almost everything about today’s Chloé when Kamali greets you at the brand’s bright, groovy showroom with a big smile; her long, wavy hair falling free over her navy silk blouse; her wide-legged jeans falling just so over her white sneakers; golden snakes coiling around one finger and one wrist.

The brand comes naturally to the German-born designer, and she quickly adopted her first handbag design — the roomy, ever-so-gently crumpled Camera bag that she’s not afraid to put on the floor at a bistro — and a cognac vegetal leather coat that she can’t wait to age by living her life. “The more you wear it, the better it gets,” she enthused.

“What I think the Chloé wardrobe should look like” pretty much sums up her approach to what she calls “the beginning collection,” which reclaims the brand’s reputation for blouses, pants, tailoring and outerwear with a practical chic, like a trench coat with a removable cape, for example.

She also returned to a classic palette – black and white representing the late ’70s era when Karl Lagerfeld designed the ready-to-wear; nude and tawny shades strongly associated with the brand since forever — plus signature details like scalloped edges on skirts and zigzag lace trim and tie-fronts on blouses.

It’s all polished, but not too polished, exalting Kamali’s intuitive, natural way of dressing and designing, and her wish to offer “pieces that feel personal, things that let you really be yourself…not imposing anything.”

She also cleverly cherry-picked emblems from various Chloé eras and designers — horses, bananas, a pineapple — and incorporated into the jewelry, adding just the right dose of cheekiness. Ditto her new Bracelet bag, a crescent-shaped leather sac slung from a golden ring, a new take on a Y2K design Kamali unearthed from the archives.

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