Light hearted and flirtatious Chloe, it was thrift shop chic at its finest

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The Independent Online

Phoebe Philo unveiled her autumn/winter 2002 collection for Chloe in Paris yesterday. Again she spared well-heeled young women the world over the trouble of traipsing through flea markets in search of vintage good looks.

Philo is in her second season at the helm of the French house that is famous for its girlish, ultra-pretty dresses and neat, chic tailoring. While her handwriting was not entirely confident in this collection, her signature was clear.

The first outfit paved the way: a cute, striped silk shirt worn with saucy tailored shorts (great when the cold snap comes) and spangly belts that sat coolly on the hips.

These were extremely light-hearted and flirtatious in the extreme, and little quilted jackets, nipped in at the waist, were equally perky. It was thrift shop chic at its finest and at designer prices.

Skin-tight velvet trousers were more racy, whispering the Seventies. They made even the models seem curvy, so only the very thin need apply. Sweaters looked as if they had been worn and washed for decades, with extra-long sleeves and embellished with slender strips of sparkle: those who buy into the Chloe look wear their glitz faded, and not just for the evening.

Glittering detail seemed more at home on chiffon blouses, great in navy and worn over leather trousers cropped at the knee, and a single plum minidress cut as casually as a T-shirt. No doubt both will be some of the most sought-after pieces of the forthcoming season. Philo will never be a designer to bring the house down in the manner of, say, John Galliano or Alexander McQueen, but this is not her job.

Instead, the woman who took over from her friend Stella McCartney, and was the designer's number two, is charged with investing an old French house with a bright young image and taking it into the future. Philo is still finding her feet, but she may well be able to do just that.

The Paris collections close tomorrow.

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