Chloe Paris Fashion Week F/W 2015

“You’ve come a long way, baby” was the slogan used for advertising Virginia Slims cigarettes, accompanying images of liberated metropolitan women (we don’t just have sex with whomever we like, we smoke, too!) clad in all manner of groovy seventies garb: billowing-sleeved blouses, colorful flowing chiffon dresses, looooong furs over flared high-waisted pants, a chunky stack heel underfoot. This isn’t a public service announcement in favor of smoking—it’s a filthy habit, IMO—but the look, the attitude, the freedom of the Virginia Slims girl was—and is—pure Chloé. And in a way, “You’ve come a long way, baby” could easily be addressed to the house’s British creative director Clare Waight Keller. In the last few seasons she has made Chloé hot—as in smokin’ hot—all over again.

See Collection

Waight Keller’s fall 2015 offering shows no signs of the flame being extinguished. In the last year or so, particularly this spring, her collections have been marked by a greater sense of resolve and resolution to her chosen theme. This time ’round, she wanted, she said backstage pre-show, to cloak the fragility and femininity that the house is renowned for with something stronger, something a little bit tougher. The solution? A ton of great coats, long and lean, some double-breasted, and some encircled with a whip-thin leather belt, a cool styling idea here that, hey, why not replicate now in the last chilly days of winter? (New York, you know what I’m talking about.)

Despite their heavy blanket-like appearance, Waight Keller smartly kept her coats (relatively) light, swapping boiled, felted wool for a compressed melton, or debulked her shearlings, so that they can be easily reversible to the leather or fleece side. From there, she added masculine blazers, again skinny-belted, with cuffed wide pants that trailed over the towering, flared-heel ankle boots. Sometimes she let the fragility show its own kind of strength with diaphanous, tiered, floor-length dresses under masculine vests, a skinny scarf wound at the neck and then left to trail. That was also evident in the evening looks, where Waight Keller went full-on (quite literally) with gorgeous patchworks of floral and paisley silk velvet that romantically—if not sweetly—swept the floor.​