Chloé has been championing and awakening feminine energy since 1952; it's even written in their Instagram bio, 'inspiring femininity since 1952'. With each of its many creative directors - from Stella McCartney to Clare Waight Keller - taking a stint at interpreting the true meaning of what femininity means for them; the French house has inevitably been taken down a few different paths in its lifetime, from its avant-garde founder, Gaby Aghion, to Natacha Ramsay-Levi's 70s heyday approach, effortlessly melding her inspirations with other retro-futurism ideals. After the announcement came at the end of last year that Uruguayan-born designer Gabriela Hearst would be next up to take the reins, fashion didn't know what to think other than a unanimous prediction that Chloé was about to undergo an eco make-over (after all, we are talking about a woman who's famed with producing the world's first-ever carbon-neutral show).
Just as nature undergoes the process of renewal, so has Chloé's visual narrative, and finally, the fashion world has been given a small glimpse at Hearst's unique Chloé vision; it's sensual, earthy, intimate, and above all, strictly and undoubtedly feminine. Featuring images by Zoë Ghertner and art direction by Peter Miles, the ongoing series, debuted through the brand's Instagram, will piece together images that convey a sense of nature in its most valid form - at times, beguilingly abstract. Other times? Wondrously real.
The arresting images in question, unChloé-like in appearance but representative of house codes in tone, range from close-up shots of pleated fungi to otherworldly plants; pooling lava to structured honeycombs; bee communities to a solitary nude female clutching her left breast, hand dirtied yet enriched by the mud that's wedged in the crevices of her own skin. Relating to renewable energy sources and putting the climate at the forefront of everything despite all odds (yes, to ours and Hearst's distaste, fashion is still deemed very much as an 'unsustainable industry'), each photograph represents the idea of stripping back to basics and allowing ourselves to bask in the delights that nature can easily bring us if we let it.
In the press release, Chloé addressed the elegantly directed abstract imagery by stating, 'Each photograph can be interpreted in myriad ways... they speak to the raw materials that will remain ever-present inspirations as the Maison charts its new direction. They take us back to the source of beauty in unadulterated states, of life-forces that persist despite all odds. They are microcosms mirroring our health as humans, and they reveal that fragility is everywhere. Far from representing a period of rest, this marks the visual beginning of our shift to a model that is for the greater good. It is an occasion to advance gently, and to lay the groundwork for an irreversible release.'
Hearst is, indeed, laying the groundwork for a more sustainable future, and regardless of where she's taking Chloé for their next adventure, we know it's an eco-led revolution, and we are behind her only 100% of the way. Taking on a female-driven legacy in a time when male designers are abruptly taking the reins at brands created by women, Hearst's first collection for the house - A/W 21 womenswear - was a complete success. The collection started with the Gaby Aghion quote, 'There was no luxury ready-to-wear; well-made clothes with quality fabrics and fine detailing did not exist' accompanied with a ceramic button, which, of course, was Hearst making a small yet undeniably tangible testament to quality. Anders Christian Madsen wrote in his British Vogue review, 'It was only the tip of the climate-centric iceberg in a collection borne out of altruistic sustainability and philanthropy measures too diverse to do justice in a few paragraphs' noting Hearst's dedication to push the boundaries of what sustainable fashion is, continually, wholeheartedly, and nothing but.
Chloé may be under a major revamp but isn't that what fashion needs from time to time? The house still champions femininity and as far as we're concerned, as long as Hearst is there, it always will do. Maybe fashion could learn a thing or two from Hearst's dedication to celebrating planet earth and its raw unfiltered beauty - after all what's more beautiful than mother nature?