Gabriela Hearst’s debut Fall/Winter 2021 collection for Chloé honored the French fashion house’s legacy of breezy, natural femininity – and the brand’s ambition to be as environmentally and socially sustainable as possible.
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Hearst made moves that nodded to the house’s DNA, like filming the audience-less, digital show in a part of Paris where founder Gaby Aghion once debuted her first show – Aghion was a pioneer in staging off-the-cuff fashion shows at Left Bank locales such Café de Flore and Brasserie Lipp – there were also plenty of Hearst signatures, from the presence of ponchos to the well-considered leather bags.
Hearst’s Fall/Winter 2021 collection for Chloé is a radical step in the brand’s new ‘purpose-driven’ direction. The use of virgin polyester or viscose has been eliminated; more than 50 per cent of the silk used comes from organic agriculture, and more than 80 per cent of cashmere is recycled. Coats in the collection, including dramatic “puffchos” (ponchos that were topped with a puffer collar) and floor length patchwork puffer jackets, are made from entirely repurposed materials. Shoes are created from recycled knitwear, and the iconic Edith bags have not only been reissued in recycled cashmere and jacquard, but repurposed with leftover materials such as leather pieces, recycled cashmere and deadstock shearling. A number of these were made in partnership with Sheltersuit, an NGO that produces clothes for people on the streets.
Speaking of patterns, a butterfly intarsia on sweaters and scarves got at Hearst’s well-known environmental focus. “It’s really important to illuminate the subject of insects because nobody thinks about insects”, she said. “They’re pollinators, and they’re the decomposers of our planet. And we don’t realize how much they do for us and for the environment… The reason you’re choosing an organic fabric and paying a premium is because they’re not using herbicides and pesticides. So that has less effect on our insect world that is suffering the same mass extinction that we’re seeing in other kingdoms. If insects go away, it’s environmental collapse and no recovery”.
In fact, this was a viable wardrobe for women created by a woman for a brand largely shaped by women. Hearst is taking on a female-driven legacy in a time when male designers are suddenly fronting brands created by women.
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