Making fashion sustainable is above all an energy issue, which is why Gabriela Hearst spent her first two years at Chloé focusing on materials, from fiber to garment. There would be no cotton logo tees under her watch.
For the spring 2024 pre-collection, the house’s collection notes cite “a more nuanced and abstract stance centering on notions of consciousness, circularity, and timelessness.” Those values, it adds, are expressed “holistically on an aesthetic and technical level.”
True to her straight-shooting mien, Hearst puts it much more succinctly. “This collection is about the chicest garment mixing, but actually you’re looking at trash,” the creative director said, somewhat triumphantly, during a showroom Zoom from New York. “Knowing that it’s leftover trash makes me feel good.”
Not that anything about this outing even whispers “leftovers.” Au contraire. Its jeans, the fruit of a collaboration with denim specialist Adriano Goldschmied, are made of a proprietary fabric in 87% post-consumer cotton and 13% hemp. And what appears to be denim isn’t necessarily so: a shearling collared jacket shown here with matching flares is made of suede.
Hearst’s favorite category, knitwear, is another throughline. It crops up in an elegant, fringed ensemble, or in a Merino dress with tulip sleeves and a botanical guipure midriff that could make converts of the cut-out averse. Ribbed knits in lower-impact wool engineered for curves and ease of movement are finished at the seams with jewel-like chains, an element that returns on a black hourglass jacket or a wool coat. Some pieces, such as a wool jacquard cardigan with multi-colored threads, were produced in collaboration with the social enterprise Manos del Uruguay.
For evening, the designer paid tribute to Karl Lagerfeld’s quarter-century tenure at Chloé, a preview of which appeared at the Met Gala last month. The custom column dress worn by Maude Apatow, in deadstock silk crepe with a hand-embroidered arrow motif, is reiterated here in a coat, a dress with swooping arrow in back, and bags, shoes, and jewelry. Not pictured here is another nod, a guitar dress based on the long version Hearst wore on the red carpet.
Beyond those statement numbers was a deep, plush lineup of unapologetically chic, sharply cut clothes in neutral shades of ecru, black, and navy. Those show Hearst’s fluency in the kind of Thomas Crown–ian dressing that women everywhere have likely had trouble sourcing in recent years. A black wool cape coat with nuggety gold buttons, a denim and shearling jacket, fur coats teased from shearling or a cropped chocolate leather jacket made solid cases for gimmick-free, long-term investment dressing.
”[In fashion], people sometimes forget that we are providing a service, something that is beautiful and well made,” the designer observed. “Nobody really needs what we make.” When this collection hits stores, Chloé fans will beg to differ.
This article was originally published on Vogue Runway.