Chloé’s spring/summer 2024 show was Gabriela Hearst’s final collection for the house and it was a culmination of her work over her three-year tenure. “I mean, I am obsessed with this collection. It is my favourite collection I have ever done anywhere,” she said backstage before the show. Keep reading for Vogue fashion critic Anders Christian Madsen’s verdict on the show.
It was Gabriela Hearst’s final show for Chloé
In early July, after three years at the helm of Chloé, it was announced that this collection would be Gabriela Hearst’s last for the house. Most often, those statements aren’t released until after those shows have taken place, but Hearst doesn’t play to fashion tradition. Her final bow for Chloé was an exultant display that celebrated her tenure at the house. There was nothing downcast about it. “I mean, I am obsessed with this collection. It is my favourite collection I have ever done anywhere,” she said backstage before the show. Overhearing the comments of guests leaving the show, they were inclined to agree. Hearst consolidated the sensual, empowered woman-of-the-earth language she has been cultivated at Chloé in modernist, sculptural silhouettes that brought a certain cool factor.
It was about the consciousness of flowers
The collection began with flowers. Backstage, Hearst produced a picture on her iPhone of dresses she had sketched in January, their silhouettes founded in those of flowers. From sketch to reality, the finished looks were exactly like she’d imagined. To Hearst, the flowers represented the idea of consciousness she wanted to convey: “The balance between heart and mind; to act in response and not in reaction,” as she put it, segueing into the sustainability that has been her defining feature at Chloé: “For our success in climate, we need to be mindful and that’s this balance. If you look at the different aspects of humanity, consciousness is always symbolised in flowers.” It became her farewell note to the house, like the letter an outgoing president leaves on the desk of the incoming one.
Hearst made Chloé sustainable
“I think I came in at a really specific time for the brand, to really transform. You can only transform when people want to change,” Hearst said. “I’ve been asked what I’m most proud of… When I came there was one person in the sustainability team. Now there’s twelve. Chloé is extremely committed for the future to creating beauty with the lowest impact for the environment. That, for me, shows that you can actually do beautiful product that sells and grow a business with a consciousness of the environment and a social component.” Poignantly, her final collection was her most accomplished demonstration of those facts to date, in no small part thanks to fact that she didn’t feel a need to put the sustainable factors in neon lights. Assured it’s there, her audience could focus on the clothes.
The winged dresses were symbolic
Hearst interpreted her flower theme in the blooming gigot sleeves of coats, some constructed in leather as a contrast to the romance said theme inevitably creates. A jumpsuit with cut-outs was shingled in petal-like tiers of fabric, a dress came encrusted with naïve daisies, and winged shoulder panels nodded at an evolving motif during Hearst’s tenure at Chloé. “We’ve been doing wings since I started. I had to do my first collection in two months, and so it was amazing because we did it during Covid in the streets of Saint Germain, all closed down. It had our version of Nike – the goddess of victory in the Louvre – but she was a bit shy. Her wings now are really, really strong so I like to see that as symbol,” she reflected.
Hearst took her final bow with a samba
It was in the construction of wrap dresses and column cut-out dresses that Hearst most aced her swan song. Accompanied by cowboy coats and ponchos rooted in her Uruguayan rancher background – “you can take the girl out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the girl” – and leather tailoring that felt informed by that same world, they painted a good picture of the fashion Hearst will be remembered for at Chloé. She closed her show with a samba performance by The Mangueira School from Rio, taking bow in dancing, celebratory fashion. “There’s never been a samba school brought to a fashion show before. They’re like football teams. They compete every February in the carnival of Rio,” she explained. “And they’re the best in world.”
Originally published on vogue.co.uk