For Gaby Aghion, on the centennial anniversary of her birth. xGabi
Gabriela Hearst unveils her first collection for the Maison Chloé one hundred years to the day of Gaby Aghion’s birth. From Gaby to Gabi, two ambitious women interpreting femininity in the context of their time. And from Gabi
to Gaby, the reassurance that, “Your House is in good hands.” When Chloé’s founder began presenting her earliest collections, she invited guests to Left Bank locales such Café de Flore and Brasserie Lipp. Today, with changes and cultural influences underway that are deeply personal to Gabi, the meaning of Chloé – ‘blooming’ in Greek – resonates anew. The Autumn-Winter ’21 collection is thus informed and inspired by sustainability and a commitment to the greater good.
A forward concept has emerged that is subtle in design but bold in action. In every piece, a sense of purpose.
These changes, some already initiated before this collection, are just a start. A sustainability plan outlining objectives for 2025 has accelerated with
a new timeline of one year.
A shift to lower-impact raw materials means that the AW21 collection can
be considered four times more sustainable compared to last year. For ready-to- wear, this includes: eliminating virgin synthetic fibre (polyester) or artificial cellulosic fibre (viscose) and sourcing recycled, reused and organic denim. More than 50% of silk comes from organic agriculture and more than 80%
of cashmere yarn for knitwear is recycled. Bags are lined in natural linen.
For jewellery and metallic pieces on bags, the impact of the galvanization process has been reduced through selecting one gold and one silver across all collections.
Sustainable suppliers have been introduced from materials to packaging.
In an effort to make the Chloé show more carbon neutral, emissions are being offset and directed towards a reforestation project of mangroves in Myanmar.
ABOUT THE COLLECTION
“There was no luxury ready-to-wear; well-made clothes with quality fabrics and fine detailing did not exist.” – Gaby Aghion
The collection began with this quote and a ceramic button – a small yet tangible testament to quality. In soft marbled colours with a slightly irregular form, they have been handmade in a Parisian workshop and can be found in woven pieces and knitwear. They reappear as pendants for jewellery that simultaneously decorates handbags.
From Trench coats and tailored jackets that tie at the side to dresses in leather and wool gauze, daywear has been developed with a precise constructions.
A strong knitwear category is defined by ultra-soft, recycled cashmeres and multicolour stripes that naturally nod to Gabi’s Uruguayan background. Through fringed and striped dresses and the ‘puffcho,’ an innovative poncho integrated with a puffer, this personal inspiration plays out with a relaxed yet urbane spirit.
Emblematic Chloé codes are reimagined. First, scalloped detailing, which Gaby Aghion applied to an early cotton pique dress in her 1960 show at Brasserie Lipp. Here, it appears as top-stitching on georgette blouses; in petals of leather
or denim patchwork; as a quilting technique and along the cuffs of knitwear. Broderie anglaise is transformed from classic to contemporary as knitwear, and as leather edge. The season’s motif, a colourful marbling effect,
was conceived in New York – Gabi’s hometown – from an artisanal technique using natural ingredients.
A complex intarsia butterfly on sweaters and scarves is mean to communicate mass extinction throughout the insect world. “If our insects go, we collapse
as a species. This is why harmful herbicides and pesticides used in the making of our materials must be eliminated,” Gabi says.
“My first luxury handbag was the Chloé Edith bag and it is a piece I still love and wanted to pay homage to,” says Gabi. This season the Edith bag has been re-issued staying true to its original design. The new Edith family includes bags in recycled cashmere or with recycled jacquard and is offered as a mini version, a tote and a doctor’s bag.
Alongside this reedition, 50 vintage Edith bags have been repurposed with leftover materials from this collection. Each is unique, or says Gabi, “new isn’t always better.”
Other new styles include the Juana bag in scalloped quilting and patchwork leather, as well as handknitted leather totes embellished with a recycled wooden C knitted into the handle. “To me, these are luxury pieces that show how quality and craft can coexist without opulence.”
Footwear fulfils comfort while interpreting classic shapes with character. The Edith top stich took shape as the Edith below-the-knee boot. Elsewhere, there are leather Chelsea boots on a crepe sole with scallop edge trim that feature recycled cashmere; a new loafer family in different heights, and over- the-knee knitted boots and booties that are integrated with a sock for
a complete, trompe l’œil look. A collaboration with Moonboots incorporates Chloé material and recycled cashmere, transforming the exaggerated winter shape into something playful.
JEWELERY & SMALL ACCESSORIES
The ceramic buttons become pendants that are paired with minerals and semi- precious stones such as amethyst, rose and smoky quartz and lapis lazuli. Large pieces of stones appear inlaid in leather with adjustable leather straps that can be placed at the different chakras. Baroque pearls are juxtaposed with recycled wood as pendants and earrings. Button pendants hang from the handles of the purses for a personalised effect.
This season, 20% of ready-to-wear is manufactured by World Fair Trade Organization fair trade-guaranteed members.
The collection counts two partnerships – Manos del Uruguay and Sheltersuit – as pathways to a positive social impact for the women and men crafting pieces throughout the collection.
“This is a project I was really looking forward to developing at Chloé,
as it gives me the energy that comes from meaning and purpose. It grounds me in the reality that others are living today,” says Gabi. “I have deep admiration for Bas Timmer of Sheltersuit, a fellow designer who uses all
of his abilities in the service of others – the most altruistic way to use design. Bas and his team worked at the Maison for 10 days where they created
a Sheltersuit Chloe Backpack in four colours variations with repurposed materials from the house. The design is beautiful, joyful and functional;
it is consciously made and for a greater good, providing immediate shelter
to people experiencing homelessness.”
The product is completely repurposed and upcycled. For each backpack sold, Chloé will fund the making of two Sheltersuits. Three of the suits will be displayed on the runway showcasing the leftover prints that pay homage
to the history of the house and the craft of Sheltersuit.
Adds Gabi, “This is part of the Chloé mission: weaving purpose to business endeavours in a post-pandemic world to help acknowledge and alleviate the hardship of others. A luxury brand has the duty to do so.”
Sheltersuit, a non-profit organization, was conceived to provide shelter
for the homeless through full-length outerwear combining a jacket, duffel bag and sleeping bag. Made entirely from upcycled materials, this cold weather- resistant garment is assembled in the Netherlands by former refugees,
who are unable to access the labour market.
ABOUT THE MUSIC
Produced by Juan Campodonico and arranged by Danilo Astori Sueiro,
the score remixes Latin American artists Lido Pimienta and Los Fabulosos Cadillacs atop electronic sounds that shimmer and throb with forward momentum.Campodonico, a four-time Latin Grammy Award winner, has contributed to numerous albums and music projects, merging South American rhythms with global contemporary music. This music, so familiar to Gabi, now moves through Chloé like the evocation of a nighttime walk in Saint-Germain: transformative, energised, in bloom.