There was never a doubt from the get-go that Gabriela Hearst’s Chloe will be playing a different ballgame from the one that her predecessor Natacha Ramsay-Levi had crafted during her four-year stint there.
After all, it was reported that part of Hearst’s application for the post was a 92-page proposal that underlined a purpose-driven vision for the 69-year-old brand – and we got a taste of that during her Fall/Winter 2021 collection debut recently.
For one, Hearst is fast-tracking the sustainability goals she has set out for the brand for 2025 with an ambitious new timeline of just one year. And if one has any doubts about how resolute this Uruguayan-born designer is in achieving that aim, just consider how her debut collection is said to be four times more sustainable compared to Ramsay-Levi’s swansong collection for Spring/Summer 2021.
Why the urgency, some might ask? Isn’t it obvious? You just need to read the news for the answer.
A part of Hearst’s motivations boils down to how she is a futurist designer with a realist bent. Her debut 29-look show – staged a hundred years to the day of founder Gaby Aghion’s birth and held on the empty streets of Paris’ Boulevard Saint-Germain – featured clothes that are easy, breezy, and at times, beautiful.
There were her trademark cosy knits made from recycled cashmere seen on capes. column dresses and bags. There wearable flowy maxi dresses and georgette blouses. Perhaps to shake things up a bit, there was what the brand dubs the “puffcho” – a poncho-meets-puffer cape hybrid.
The striped puffcho pays homage to Hearst’s South American roots.
These clothes may not necessarily be groundbreaking – and may take some of the brand’s regular clientele a little time to get accustomed to – but they certainly herald a new sustainable journey that Hearst wants to take the Chloe woman on.
Which brings us to a quote Hearst gave FEMALE for an interview two years ago: “In running our businesses, what is the real cost to the world and to our own humanity? We really need to rethink how we do things. The positive side of it is all the tools are already in existence, now we just need to make a change.”
Below, we highlight the many ways that change is taking shape at the brand.