#SuzyPFW: Chloé’s Hippie Modernism; Paco Rabanne’s Minimal Metal

Chloé: Relaxed looks for free spirits

Hippie de luxe has had a long life – since its inception by Yves Saint Laurent in the 1970s through endless fashion revivals. Casual glamour laced with tribal totems has served fashion past and present.

So when Chloé’s first look was floor rugs with rich, spicy, and deep-coloured patterns, it signalled the show was following the Spring/Summer 2019 hippie trail.

But how to avoid the old clichés about that Seventies love-and-peace culture?

“I love hippies – I think it’s a great counterculture,” said Chloe’s Creative Director Natacha Ramsay-Levi. “It’s still inspiring today because it’s for people who have free roots to a new zero – an idea about how you can reinvent life; what your links to sensuality and community are,” she explained.

“I think it’s still relevant and revolutionary,” the designer continued. “I called the collection ‘Hippie Modernism’ because I want to bring it into the city.”

Ramsay-Levi was defining her lasting love of soft drapes, vivid mixed prints, hemlines short and long, and tribal-style jewellery. Let’s make that Jewellery!, for multiple decoration included a version of all you might dream to find in a Moroccan souk.

The designer is creating a plausible image at Chloé, with a French hippie look rather than the more carefree British version promoted by the previous Chloé incumbent, English designer Clare Waight Keller.

Natacha had nothing so new to say, but the show was appealing, even desirable, in its use of colour and also the way silken patterns were printed on freely floating fabrics. There were also white materials that brought ease and freshness. And that load of jewellery?

“It was about a woman thinking about nature, who has souvenirs from summer time,” the designer said. “The jewellery is about taking something that is poor and making it into what is uplifting and sophisticated.”

Natacha – like so many female designers – seems to be modelling Chloé on her free and fearless self. And that looks just fine.

Paco Rabanne: Florals with light metallics

When the first outfit appeared – with flowers printed on blouse and skirt and a small piece of leather in between – it defined the determination of Creative Director Julien Dossena to do Paco Rabanne his way.

Various designers have tried to give a different and softer face to the hard-edged brand from the 1960s. But Dossena is convincing because he keeps tinges of metal – in an inclusive way. So metal jewels might dangle on strings from the hips of a side-sliced skirt. Or the pattern might be just abstract coins on an apron top.

Many of these effects, like the apron, once referenced “Whacko Paco”, whose father was a butcher. But Dossena’s references were subtly made and never intrusive.

There were enough silvered finishes – on a trouser suit or a pair of metallic jeans seen only from the back of an open dress – to make the Paco reference credible. Yet at the same time, the current designer expressed himself.

The openness of the show – literally, in the case of a slit skirt and a cardigan showing the stomach – gave an up-to-date feel to a contemporary collection that kept a frisson of that chain-link, metallic Paco legend.