The Chloé Spring/Summer 2017 Runway

After last season’s virtual motorcycle trip, Chloé’s Clare Waight Keller was in the mood for a more urban vibe. “I wanted to bring it back to the city. It was time to clean it up,” she said backstage, wearing an oversize white tee tucked into high-waisted pants. A version of that look would come down the runway a few moments later. Waight Keller works on instinct, subtly attuned to the vagaries of her own desires and wardrobe needs. With Bouchra Jarrarand Maria Grazia Chiuri recently installed at Lanvin and Dior, respectively, the ranks of women designers at top brands in Paris are growing—and hurrah to that!—but Chloé has been benefiting from having a fashion-loving female in charge for some time.

Halfway through the show is where her headline came: A pair of boyish pantsuits strolled out—one black and one off-white, the jackets lapel-less and trousers slung from the hips. Tailoring as office-ready and straightforward and frill-free as this is a fairly rare sight chez Chloé, but not an unwelcome one. Waight Keller is feeling it, which means it’s a good bet her girl will be soon. Those suits were her baseline, and from there she elaborated on the urban idea with a reined-in color palette of crisp white and navy, and with tops and bottoms as unflouncy as anything we’ve seen from this label in a long time. The designer’s new pants were modeled on sailor’s uniforms, flanked by buttons at the waist and super-full all the way through the calves, where they were cinched above the ankles. They looked cool.

That sharp sense of resolve didn’t last all the way through, but that’s okay. Chloé does a big business in hippie dresses, and in this case Waight Keller was content to give her customers what they already want. Or at least updated versions of it. Her pleated, tiered, and lace-trimmed frocks in sorbet shades were short this season, rather than floor grazing. Also in the mix: ditzy floral prints on a camisole and an off-the-shoulder top worn with matching pants. They were a sweet compromise between the familiar Chloé and the new.

By Nicole Phelps

The Chloé Spring/Summer 2017 Runway