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Gabriela Hearst said her own brand will be different to Chloé
Gabriela Hearst was already engrossed in the new collection for her own brand when she was appointed artistic director of Chloé in early December 2020. While the second job happened too late to reflect any impact on her eponymous expression, on a video call from New York Hearst said she wasn’t concerned about carving out individual points of view between the two brands. “When I get an idea, I know immediately if it’s for Chloé or GH. I know immediately the difference between these two women. Chloé is Aphrodite and GH is Athena. They’re very defined in my head.”
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The collection was inspired by Saint Hildegard of Bingen
If her mythological analogy is to be believed, Hearst’s take on Chloé is going to reflect the sensuality of Aphrodite, while she sees in her own label the heroism and wisdom of Athena, a goddess often associated with androgyny. Her season muse certainly reflected those qualities. Informed by a book her husband had given her on Saint Hildegard of Bingen, Hearst exercised her lived-in puritanical folklore with monastic panache. “I’m certain that if she was born a man, we would know her name like we know Leonardo Da Vinci,” Hearst said of the progressive 11th century German polymath and abbess, who also wrote monophonic music that inspired the show’s score.
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It was monastery chic
In Hildegard, Hearst–whose six-year-old brand was founded on sustainability–detected a likeminded creative a thousand years her senior. “She believed in green power. She believed that the answers were in nature. She was combining science and art 500 years before the Renaissance. Her ideas were so progressive. She fought with the popes, she fought with the High Middle Age system she was born into,” the designer said. “And she thought apathy was death; not being connected to others and the environment. I can relate to that.” The idea of Hildegard’s conventual wardrobe convened with Hearst’s modernist lines in austere leather capes and coats, monotone lace dresses, and subversive nun shoes.
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It was highly sustainable
In contrast, floral embellishment and motifs translated from Hearst’s 12-year-old daughter Mia’s drawings connected with Hildegard’s green thumb. 40 percent of the collection was done with repurposed deadstock fabrics. “We found them and turned them around and gave the planet a little break. My father used to say, ‘Small things for the world but big for me.’ It makes me feel good. This year we’re going for 50 per cent,” Hearst said. Contrary to a fellow sustainable pioneer like Stella McCartney, who is able to use her own saved-up overstock from years in the business, Hearst explained she has to find hers elsewhere. “You have to do a lot of fishing.”
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Hearst’s next stop is the “candy store” at Chloé
Now, Hearst starts packing for Paris where will finish her debut collection for Chloé in time for its digital launch on 3 March. “Here, we work in a very intense, small group of people. I have to run the business. I have to do a lot of things before I get to create,” she said of her own New York-based brand, which she is now looking for a CEO to manage as she takes on her second job. “At Chloé, I’m just creating. I’m like a kid in a candy store.” But, Hearst noted, “It makes me appreciate both very much. Here, I appreciate the independence and the smallness.”