The comings and goings of creative directors are the bread and butter of this industry, intel and gossip that can fuel front rows for seasons if not years. Yet at Joseph, the stoically essential British brand, no such drama will be entertained. After Louise Trotter, who had helmed the ship with a casually posh eye for years, departed for Lacoste, Susana Clayton was installed. What would happen?

Not much. For one, Joseph still shows in the same showroom in Paris—no more shows—that, in an Uber ride across Paris, can feel like a stop in a more bohèmecasual world by the canal. Inside, the routine and much of the ideology is the same: clothes a woman needs, hung orderly on rails, camel-colored or ivory or burgundy. According to those in charge, Clayton wants to bring it closer to the body, a little tighter while still being both comfortable and comforting. Strange for a designer making a big debut to be absent on her big debut day, but perhaps it’s a statement about the clothes speaking for themselves. But what does a poncho buttoned up like a bandolier say about closeness, rigor, or practicality?

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