Clare Waight Keller is like the new girl at school. Unlike her three creative director predecessors, Stella McCartney, Phoebe Philo, and Hannah McGibbon, who all graduated from Central Saint Martins and were promoted from within Chloé, Claire studied at London’s Royal College of Art and is a straight-hire from Pringle of Scotland. Still, the professional thirty-something designer definitely seems to have a feel for the label’s target clientele, as showcased by her debut S/S 2012 collection.
“For me, Chloé is about what’s real, what’s now; and it was about really capturing the spirit of how women dress today. Actually, I looked at a lot of blogs—those are cool girls, out there, right now, wearing clothes. It’s really inspiring to see how women put things together. It gave me a sense of what I should try to achieve in this show,” says Clare. “There’s nothing uptight, nothing too structured. Fluidity and femininity, but boyish.”
This turned out to be a number of breezy dresses, light chiffon skirts, and boxy cut tops, detailed with hole-punch cutouts, vertical sorbet-colored stripes, and 20s flapper drop-waists. And not forgetting the heart of the line, Clare also included an ample amount of pleats, well-cut trousers, and touches of English embroidery that brought the Chloé label back to its chic and feminine French roots.