Tuesday, March 22, 2011

HE SAID SHE SAID: Working 9 to 5?

Welcome to our new series, "He Said She Said". The idea behind it is simple: One of us will pick a topic, write about it, and the other will write the dissent (or trash talk).

For our first topic I have climbed out of the kiddie pool and selected The House of Chloe. Fashion, while I simply j'adore, is not my forte--though I did spend countless Saturday mornings in the early 90's watching Style with Elsa Klensch... However fashion is a religion of Ian's so this should be interesting.

While perusing the NYTimes' online slide shows of the NYC Fashion Week for Fall 2011 I stumbled upon Chloe's Fall line. Oh, no. No, no, no, no, no. Someones been playing with Doc Brown's Delorean again.  Was 1985 that great? With each click of the mouse I couldn't understand the motivation behind making women go back to the days of working 9 to 5 (however great of a movie that was). Drawing upon other generations for inspiration is one thing. Recycling Ralph Lauren -minus the turquoise accoutrement, is another. And, doesn't the third style remind anyone of Tess McGill? Hmm.

Well, it turns out that I was not looking at Chloe's Fall 2011 line but archived images of their Fall 2010 line (yes, 2010 does seem like ages ago, doesn't it?) My bad. I'll skip the wine the next time I do "research" for this blog.

To be fair, Chloe's Fall 2011 line has far more creativity and pizazz. There's a yellow, blue & red vertical striped skirt I must must must  have. (Way to bring back your A-game Hannah MacGibbon) Still, the 2010 line -one or two pieces notwithstanding, left me stumped.

I immediately turned to the one person I could count on, Ian. Surely a man with his seemingly limitless knowledge of cuffs, pleats and shoulder pads could explain what went so wrong. It was like a very special episode of Blossom.  However his reply to my rant was short and not-so-sweet: "I must disagree with you". Gobsmacked. Sir, your Ralph Lauren predilection might explain why you once tried to style me as a 60 year-old upper-east-side lady who lunches...but it doesn't explain your love of this, um, stuff.  What am I missing? I'm not kidding -if I get McQueen & L'Wren, why don't I get this?  And why did I give away my emerald green suit? The pleats really hid the bad stuff.


Before I really begin, I think we need to go over a few fashion truths that are self evident.   Specifically, unless you are rail thin and taller than 5'-9", pleats will never work for you.  Nor will tapered leg trousers, harem pants, cropped lengths of any kind, or high waists.  And while we're on it, you should only wear skinny jeans if 'skinny' is a word that has been used to describe your physique.  If you dare to wear them and you are not skinny, your lower half will look like two clotted pastry bags begging for sweet relief.

As for the collection, I rather liked it.  Yes it was a throwback, but Chloe's heyday was the more optimistic late 70's early 80's, bows and all; I think MacGibbon is referencing archival pieces to reinvigorate a brand recognition and encourage nostalgia for better days.  Despite it being familiar, it was filled with classic investment pieces that shoppers in a recession are more apt to purchase and not feel guilty about.  Who doesn't ultimately want the perfect cashmere coat?  Those wide leg pants were some of the most beautiful I have seen, and when paired with a monochrome sweater or even the beaded twin set at the end, you could wear those looks until they bury you. 

Yes, the collection was a little Tess McGill and Jane Fonda, but I also saw some pieces reminiscent of 70's era Jackie O, Lauren Hutton, and Angelica Huston.  What woman still doesn't want to look like those icons?
Ironically, I loved the jumpsuits.  The knit one with the harem pant finish was witty, especially with the knit cape and frilled collar, and the nude draped jersey number at the end of the show was very elegant.  Despite the risk you run when using a public restroom while wearing one, jumpsuits are universally flattering.  An uninterrupted column gives a slimming effect and finishing the silhouette with a pant rather than a skirt, makes you appear taller. 

Regardless of our feelings, here is the truth.  Fragrance and Handbags keep these fashion houses afloat.  Everyone wants a piece of this culture, but few can afford to really buy in.  That leaves millions buying $80.00 bottles of perfume, or thousands buying $2,000.00 handbags.  While not selling clothes, that's still quite a chunk of the world buying a brand.

As well, I think we can both agree that the real stars of the show are those Breck girl hair styles.  So much bounce and shine, but only their stylist knows for sure.  Truly, I'd love to see the return of the blowout and Velcro rollers, I'm sort of over the raggedy extension and rats nest cleverly referred to as 'bed head'.

- Ian  


  1. I must disagree with Ian about jumpsuits. No one has ever looked good in a jumpsuit. If your goal is to look thinner, maybe they work. But if the goal is to look attractive, they only work for the person standing next to you.

  2. I loved the collection, too. =) But, then again, fashion was my first love.

  3. David, you have no right weighing in on the topic of how to look skinny. To give an example of looking hot in a jumpsuit, I must direct you to Meryl Streep in Death Becomes Her. She was outrageously hot, and the jumpsuit even had a hood.