Eastern Promises: Chloé Cruise 2020 In Shanghai
Shanghai has had quite a fashion-filled few weeks—four large-scale events have been filling up the calendar just the first couple weeks of June.
Fendi combined their FW19 men’s and women’s collections for show last week, Chloé showcased Cruise 2020 with their first ever pre-collection fashion show the following week, and just a day later, Burberry hosted a large-scale party the same night Prada debuted their Spring/Summer 2020 Men’s collection (Prada opted out of this season’s men’s Milan Fashion Week to show in Shanghai instead).
Why the obsession with the Far East? The growing power of the Chinese consumer, and it’s clear that luxury labels are looking for ways to engage with the market with exclusive experiences.
Out of Chloé’s 400+ guests, the breakdown included just a handful of international and regional press and influencers, while the majority of the guest list included Chinese media, VIPs and friends of the house. Chinese celebrities including actresses Shu Qi, Qi Xi, and supermodel He Sui were all spotted front row.
Chloé’s Cruise 2020 show was set against the backdrop of the West Bund, on the roof of the Long Museum, overlooking the Shanghai skyline and the iconic Huangpu River. Creative director, Natacha Ramsay-Levi had selected the city and the location following an inspiration and research trip she took earlier in January.
Ramsay-Levi’s fascination with China started with film, which was evident backstage, as a moodboard, filled with movie stills from directors like Zhang Yimou, Jia Zhangke and You Hsiao-Hsien, stood near the exit.
Drawn to the films’ strong female characters, the designer created her own heroines that took to the runway. Models sped down the runway confidently dressed in ensembles that fused workwear with a feminine attitude. Afterall, Ramsay comes from the school of Nicolas Ghesquière, so that means cutting-edge cool with an unequivocal French girl flair.
The Chinese references were subtle and sophisticated- high-neck, button-up dresses (drawn from qipaos), were refreshed with floral embroideries and watercolour prints, while silk ensembles with ties for fastenings were printed with rolling hills and lakes—a subtle nod to Chinese watercolour paintings.
Romantic blouses and sweeping dresses, mainstays for the house of Chloé, were refreshed with scarf necklines, exaggerated cuffs and lace trims, but were unexpectedly styled with gum-soled, high-top trainers.
Feminine tailoring, often belted, tied or cinched at the waist, were topped off with just the right amount of jewels that left a shimmering statement at the ears, arms or sometimes, hair, when the models whizzed by.
Ramsay-Levi also knows that bags bring in a bulk of the business. And instead of introducing drastically new shapes season after season, she focused on refining classics, introducing new sizes or variations of existing designs.
The Chloé ‘C’ bag, for example, debuted last season and was also toted by many guests in attendance, continued to find its place on this season’s runway, sometimes finished with floral leather marquetry, or the Aby lock bag (inspired by the lock from the Paddington, arguably the house’s first IT-bag from the early 2000’s, during the tenure of Hannah McGibbon), and even the Faye bag (from Ramsay-Levi's predecessor, Clare Waight Keller), but freshened up with a shorter arm strap.
For footwear, you won’t find impossibly high stilettos at Chloé, but rather heeled sandals at a manageable height to take you from day to night, or cool block-heeled boots that give dainty dresses a little edge.
The evening wrapped with an after-party that included a special performance by Charlotte Adigéry, a Belgium based French-Caribbean musician who’s soft vocals offset the dance and electro beats of her songs- and in a way, is a lot like the spirit of Natacha Ramsay-Levi’s Chloé- calm and cool, and always more than meets the eye.
See also: Louis Vuitton's Cruise 2020 Show Transports Guests to New Dimensions