Friday, January 18, 2013

The (Illustrated) History of Chloe, Part 2/2: 2002 - 2012

Phoebe Philo designed for Chloe from 2002 - 2006. When Stella McCartney left the House to found her own, her assistant and friend, Phoebe, succeeded her. With Phoebe’s arrival, Chloé started to work leather, to the delight of its customers who rushed to get bags and shoes. With her, a complete, sensual, rigorous wardrobe was born, faithful to the spirit of the brand and yet perfectly original. She offered a new way of looking at fashion, adding a twist of British cool to this very Parisian fashion house.

7 - sac camera 2004 phoebe philo Camera bag by Phoebe Philo (S/S 2004)

In 2003, Chloé released its Camera Bag in a totally rock & roll spirit, pioneering the ongoing trend for chain bags. It did not go unnoticed, with its wide double chain strap, oversized buckles, multizippers and black or red full-grained calfskin. On the runway where it first appeared, the girls in leather jackets and printed mousseline minidresses, flounced little skirts or sweater dresses with drawstring hoods, clutched it up against themselves.

8 - jean 2004 paddington 2005 phoebe philo Jean & Paddington bag by Phoebe Philo (S/S 2004)

For the summer of 2004, the Chloé silhouette is clearly under the influence of the 70s. After the “low-rise” fad, these jeans elongate the thigh, shape the small of the back and highlight the waist. With her long legs, the Chloé woman exudes a tonic chic. The golden buttons on the little patch pockets echo those found on the double braided waist. In the ad campaign shot by Terry Richardson, we only see the top of the pants. Because that’s exactly where it’s happening. For the spring of 2005, Chloé released a bag that was destined to become as famous as the London district, Paddington. Women love its oversized proportions, its XXL jewellery and its “luggage” spirit made for the (city) traveller. Present, distinctive, almost virile, the big padlock is not a cheap “charm”: it is the signature of this bag which is clearly made to age well and the term “vintage”, fits it like a glove even when it is brand new.

9 - sac python silverado 2004 phoebe philo Python boots & Python Silverado bag by Phoebe Philo (F/W 2004)

Chloé’s it-bags also include the Silverado, a hit in the autumn of 2004 with its oversized snap flaps, rectangular base, solid handles and leather lacing of ethnic inspiration. Sure of its success, the brand offered it not only in luxurious leathers, but also in an incredible python, heralding the wave of precious skins in fashion accessories. In the ad campaign by Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin a silk paisley print scarf is tied to it, floating in the wind. Girls in striped ponchos run through the Luxembourg Gardens laughing. There is rhythm, style and vivacity. They are wearing knee-high boots in soft, comfortable python, with 10cm wooden heels and a small lace tie at the ankle. Worn with slim jeans tucked inside, these boots, like the Silverado bag, are the incarnation of bohemian luxury.

99 - sandale 2006 phoebe philo Blouse & wedges by Phoebe Philo (S/S 2006)

Phoebe offered this virginal A-line blouse for the summer of 2006. Its remarkable ornamental openwork on the bib and the collar evokes innocence and transparency. Ample volumes, a sharp cut, ultra clean cotton and linen, delicate rickrack ribbons and covered buttons. In front of Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin’s lense, Christy Turlington is the perfect incarnation of “Chloé” romanticism: a gentle presence and timeless beauty. When they first appeared in the press in early 2006, the “wedges” imagined by Phoebe Philo cranked up the brand’s fashion tension. Every girl wants them. Raw materials applied to luxury – a natural wooden platform, clog-style, with grained leather and metal links, deliberately aged – triggered a shockwave. The wedge sandals lengthen the leg and create an organic chic style that goes perfectly with Philo’s summer wardrobe.

Hannah MacGibbon designed for Chloe from 2008 to 2011. After working with Valentino Garavani in Rome, she came to Chloé in 2001 where she worked with Phoebe Philo before taking over the position of creative director for three years. Demure, beige, ultrachic, the Chloé woman as seen by Hannah MacGibbon goes for a confident 70s aesthetic. Yes, we now talk about “women” rather than “girls”. More mature and hieratic, she takes on another side of femininity à la Charlotte Rampling, Dominique Sanda or Lauren Hutton — wide capes, nude tones, jeans and chambray shirts revisited, belted high-waist pants — But her wardrobe also displays the real freshness and sophisticated grace of a dancer’s light pleats, moulded leather corsets, a bodysuit under a straight skirt for an impeccable silhouette and exceptional fabrics in a range of deep, dense colours or, on the contrary, subtle as skin.

999 - cape short 2009 Hannah MacGibbon Cape & short by Hannah MacGibbon (F/W 2009)

Chloé kicked off the beige trend that took over the 2009-2010 autumn‑winter catwalks. Hannah MacGibbon applies this warm camel to a large wraparound cape in wool broadcloth trimmed with leather. In the sketch, the design appears to be constructed with origamilike precision. Well balanced, with full volumes, density and (false) simplicity, her cape left an unforgettable impression, especially when worn with high-waist shorts, raised on the thigh with large pockets to nestle ones hands. There is a hint of the masculine-feminine spirit from Chloé’s beginnings, but also the elegance of the seventies that suits the brand so well and the bourgeois cool she masters so well.

Clare Waight Keller became the current designer of Chloe in june 2011. Eagerly awaited, Clare Waight Keller’s first fashion show for Chloé took place in October 2011 in Paris. It was a hard-hitting trial run, since her 2012 spring-summer collection went to Chloé’s very soul – fluid and feminine, “but boyish”, she said, all expressed in long, white and powder pink pleated dresses, eyelet embroidery, belts on the hips of wide pants, immaculate whites softened with ivory, sandy mousselines, button less jackets, an abundance of silks, linen… Chic, nervous, natural, referenced, based on a fabulous technique using sunray pleats, embroidered flowers, slits, hemstitches and transparency.

Illustrations © Chloe

What is your favourite iconic Chloe piece?

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