There are just some things about the British way of things that set up a girl for a life of cool. Jumping on the night bus home after a night out is one. Hanging out by a bike shed (quite possibly smoking an illicit fag) is another. Doing both in bare legs creates the kind of irreverence that runs through British fashion and, at times, makes the French je ne sais quoi seem just plain dithering. Chloe’s Clare Waight Keller is not a woman that dithers and she is slowly infusing her brand of strength into Chloe. Her show in the sun-filled tent of the Tuileries today referenced both of the above activities - flirting and dorm rooms were also mentioned!
There was a youthfulness to this collection – pinafore dresses, contrasting bibs on coats and oversized cuffs on shirts featured heavily – but Clare Waight Keller is an intelligent designer creating clothes for women, not girls, women with jobs and lives so that schoolgirl feel was measured, never going off the edge to cuteville. The opening look featured a cape/mac hybrid carried on the shoulders over a white shirt and blue pinafore with ankle boots. The cape coats felt realistic – like you could actually invest in and get a wear out of them, and outerwear in general was strong (with a season like this Chloe could not afford to stay out of the coat game). The pinafore dresses never looked saccharine – they worked great in black, one with a single long sleeve, another in crisp white with two wispy frills at the top. The bibs on the other hand did feel a bit toddlerish. You could see the female editors in the space lean in for a closer look whenever a more tailored look came down the runway – a pair of wide red trousers teamed with a sheer white dotted shirt, a tweed straight skirt whose open zip revealed a leather layer underneath or a patchwork blouse with frayed denim edges over a petrol blue skirt belted high on the waist and paired with sturdy high-heeled loafers. An embroidered gold net of a tee over black shorts was an interesting suggestion for evening and the dotted black tulle skirt and white crop blazer combo was difficult to resist. 'Cold nights, tough girls' ended the notes – those a cool girl make.