Inside Chemena Kamali’s Chloé Debut: Flounce, Frou, and a Whole Lot of ‘It’ Bags


Chemena Kamali’s debut as Chloé’s new creative director was a homecoming in more ways than one. The Dortmund, Germany-born, Central Saint Martins-trained designer knows the girlish insouciance of the Chloé DNA through and through from three previous stints at the French house, as an intern and design assistant under Phoebe Philo, and later as design director under Clare Waight Keller. Titled the Intuition Collection, Kamali’s nostalgic fall 2024 show referenced the designs of Chloé’s longest-serving creative director, Karl Lagerfeld, and keyed into the most iconic of all Chloé codes: the silk blouse. And it featured the return of several Chloé muses from over the years: Jessica Miller and Doutzen Kroes who walked, along with Jerry Hall, Pat Cleveland, Sienna Miller, and Liya Kebede, who sat front row.

“I want to bring back the feeling I had when I first stepped through the doors here 20 years ago and fell in love with the Chloé woman’s spirit,” Kamali wrote in her show notes. “I want to feel her presence again; her beat, her natural beauty, her sense of freedom and undone-ness. She is real. She is herself.”

When Chloé became the first maison to stage a ready-to-wear show in 1952—nearly a decade before Yves Saint Laurent launched Rive Gauche—it offered wardrobe solutions that made women feel like themselves. There were fluid dresses, smart coats, and diaphanous blouses in soft shades of white, off-white, beige, and blush tones like the ones Chloé’s founder Gaby Aghion always wore with a black skirt. In the staid world of haute couture, these sensual, effortless silhouettes were a revelation. They provided ludic archetypes that Lagerfeld perfected with intricate flou embellishment and sharp tailoring throughout his tenure from 1964 to 1984, but especially in the late 1970s.

Courtesy of Chloé
Courtesy of Chloé
Courtesy of Chloé
Courtesy of Chloé
Courtesy of Chloé
Courtesy of Chloé

Like Aghion, Kamali is a blouse obsessive. The designer, who most recently worked as design director of Saint Laurent and as a design consultant at Frame, has a trove of more than 600 vintage blouses. She came out to take her bow in a beige utility-pocket blouse and flare jeans—an outfit quite like a white lace blouse and denim look in her Chloé collection. Romantic blouses sprouting ruffles and flounces featured prominently in Kamali’s lineup, paired with hip-slung trousers and tap-shorts, or peeking out from collarless jackets.

In fact, the idea of a blouse underpinned nearly every look. Under Kamali’s deft hand, delicate shirting materials morphed into sheer maxi dresses or little babydolls that were paired with richly textured cape coats and glossy over-the-knee boots to make the silhouettes feel more fall appropriate. Chloé is famous for “It” bags—from Philo’s padlocked Paddington to Hannah MacGibbon’s Marcie hobo bag—and Kamali brought back another MacGibbon-era style, the Paraty, a trapezoidal satchel with uniquely shaped handles and gold hardware, first introduced in 2008. Other key accessories include gold-tone logo belts that spell out “Chloé” in loopy cursive—a deep cut to the label’s namesake, a friend of Aghion’s, who wrote her name with elegantly round script.

Courtesy of Chloé
Courtesy of Chloé
Courtesy of Chloé
Courtesy of Chloé
Courtesy of Chloé
Courtesy of Chloé



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