Behind The Chic

The Art of Simple Sophistication


At Chico’s, we believe there is beauty in the details. For us, those details are luxurious fabrics, refined trims, sewing techniques and exquisite finishes. Award-winning creative director, Hilary Kelley, helped bring these details to life in our new Black Label by Chico’s collection. The new capsule wardrobe is made up pieces that have a streamlined fit aesthetic or a more easy, relaxed fit – and best of all, a majority of the pieces are made of silks and satins, so they feel great on your skin.

We sat down with Kelley to learn more about the inspiration behind the collection and how it has evolved to what it is today.

What inspired the new Black Label by Chico’s Collection? 

The collection was inspired by the idea of bringing back a former Chico’s collection of the same name. However, this time bringing it back with an updated and brand new focus. This 2020 capsule collection features a modern silhouette with a designer attitude, a collection that offers a streamlined approach to dressing. Easy pieces that work together from which you can build an outfit or a wardrobe. This Black Label collection is buy now – wear now seasonless dressing. 

What is your favorite piece in the collection?  

My favorite piece is what I have been referring to as The Best Pant, the item from which so many fashionable looks grow. I, personally, am a pant woman. I would opt for a feminine tuxedo over a fussy dress to wear to an event any day. This pant is a go-to staple and due to its unique design details and the wonderful rich fabric offering 14% stretch, it slims and accentuates your favorite features. Each of the Black Label capsules are comprised of elevated shapes and styles so there is a favorite for each customer.   

What does “chic” mean to you? 

  Personal Style: Effortless and edited.  

Tell us what first brought you into fashion and how your love of style evolved from there. 

I studied design in many forms including photography and graphic design through fabric design and sculpture. Initially, I imagined I would become an architect or an interior designer, however advancing through the disciplines, I fell in love with fashion – hard not to with the ever-evolving technological advances in materials and thrilling seasonal color palettes. Not to mention, the designers and the personalities at the apex of the Fashion World.         

Who are you style icons?

Brigitte Bardot, Jackie Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn, Diana Vreeland, Donna Karan, Miuccia Prada, Tom Ford and Brunello Cuccinelli.  

If Black Label was a person, who would it be?

Great question, now you have me thinking…I can see the customers, but to give the collection an entity with a personality, hmm…I think the essence of Black Label would be a combination of Audrey Hepburn and Julianne Moore.     

What was your process for creating this collection?

I was fortunate with this collection to be able to use myself and several of my colleagues and friends as my inspiration for Black Label 2020. We all have a similar aesthetic when it comes to dressing ourselves. It is a balanced approach to dressing with the goal of being chic, interesting and flexible. 

For years now I have gravitated to fabrics with a good dose of stretch, stretch satin, stretch poplin and stretch silk – stretch to be the key to ease and fluidity in clothing.   

Whatever our days may be – charity work, an impromptu meeting, a house showing, lunch with friends, or a quick bite at an oyster bar at the end of the day, indeed possibly all of the above and more – my style goal is always the following: 

Be neither underdressed nor overdressed.

I wanted to build this ethos into each Black Label capsule.      

The Black Label by Chico’s collection is available in sizes 0-18 (XS-XL), and you can shop the new collection here.   

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