The Chloé Spring 2021 show invited guests to take their socially distanced seats in the outdoor space behind the Palais Tokyo. Overlooking the Seine, the Eiffel Tower, and the monumental Palais, the setting offered some moments of repos to admire the calm civility of a major Paris Fashion Week show without its typical circus. Seasoned editors and buyers chatted among each other and only a handful of influencers were seen holding up their phones to takes selfies. As the show started, in voyeuristic fashion, Chloé turned the cameras on the models, as they posed by the Seine and leaned against the columns of the museum. The images were projected on gigantic digital screens for the audience and also for those viewing the show from a distance.
Watching the Chloé spring 2021 models chat among each other, one couldn’t help but feel as though one were watching an old movie. Not just because many women appeared to evoke a Nineties grunge looks, but it seemed so strange to see them actually speak to each other, look one another in the eye, and gesticulate with their hands, void of smart phones. How far removed we people have come from human contact, with Covid-19 only serving to ultimately silence us with masks when perhaps, no one felt like talking anyway.
This was not a show for doom and gloom, designer Natacha Ramsay-Levi featured a look that bore the word “Hope” written down the length of a white dress in red and green colors on a model whose look denoted activism. For those following closely the dire circumstances in Lebanon, the throat choked up at such a sight. Ramsay-Levi, while leading a French house, has always maintained an international view, embracing the cultural richness of France; whether or not this was a direct nod to Lebanon, at Vogue Arabia it will be taken as such and with thanks.
As the models descended the great outdoor staircase, and maneuvered a challenging choreography across the floor, they wore a blend of loosely tailored office work attire, furthering a view that Ramsay-Levi had proposed recently; the Chloé girl had become a woman, and got herself a job. Yes, women wear suit jackets in spring, but there was a softness to them, as they layered camisole-like chemises with delicate lace inserts. Otherwise, genteel wildflowers decorated dresses and the lot of it was accessorized with the designer’s fantastical, sculptural jewelry, which will merit a closer look as it is always laden with symbolism and female strength.
Who else to close the show, than Algerian-French actor Sofia Boutella? The self-made woman, who caught the eye of Madonna as a street dancer in Paris, and later transitioned into acting, taking lead roles opposite Tom Cruise in The Mummy, strode across the puddled floor, her stealth gaze showing determination, and her clothes, a subtle navy blue cut-out top and sarong-like polka-dot skirt whipping around her legs. Her armor, a wide belt dripped with silver accents that flowed down her skirt with mystical appeal. Boutella is the heroine we can all aspire to evoke as we transition into the next season and with an assured step denoting confident womanhood amid the world’s shaky terrain. In this coming of age, the house of Chloé is coming into its own.