Founded in 1952 by Gaby Aghion, French fashion house, Chloé, is a leading luxury brand that has remained at the top of the fashion hierarchy for decades. Acclaimed for their luxury-boho vibes and effortlessly chic aesthetic, Chloé embodies modern femininity by balancing innovation with classic Parisian style.
Gaby Aghion, born in Egypt in 1921, moved to Paris in 1945 with a new vision to present luxury ready-to-wear to the world of fashion. The fashion houses at the time only produced haute couture. Made to measure clothing didn't come cheap, those who could afford it was happy to do so. However the less wealthy were left with inadequate copies made by local seamstresses.
Rejecting the 1950s fashion norms, Aghion decided to create a line of high quality and body conscious clothing from luxury fabrics. She called her line "luxury prêt-à-porter" which translates to luxury ready-to-wear - a market we are all familiar with today. Fellow designers shortly followed suit of Aghion's innovative prêt-à-porter movement, Givenchy being the first in 1956. At present, luxury RTW triumphs haute couture by a landslide.
Gaby Aghion then recruited Karl Lagerfeld to join the Chloé team in 1964 and by 1966, he was head designer. Though the brand didn't open a boutique until 1971, Chloé was acclaimed in the world of fashion for symbolizing youth and femininity. "All I've ever wanted was for Chloé to have a happy spirit, to make people happy," Gaby Aghion once said, and of course she was right.
Lagerfeld stayed at Chloé as the sole creative director until he departed to design at Chanel, where he debuted his first collection for the infamous French fashion house in 1983. In 1987, Martine Sibon, the first female designer to take the creative reigns since Gaby Aghion, joined the Chloé team. She stayed true to the brand's original roots by continuing to promote the house's reputation for being delicate and feminine.
Twenty-five-year old Stella McCartney, daughter of famous Beatle Paul McCartney, was then appointed the position of creative director in 1997. The newly graduated designer from Central Saint Martins had only created two collections prior to taking the creative reigns at the elite fashion house. "Chloé should have taken a big name. They did, but in music, not fashion. Let's hope she's as gifted as her father," said Lagerfeld when discussing Stella's appointment. Despite the apprehensive remarks, Chloe flourished under the creative direction of Stella McCartney and her then-assistant Phoebe Philo with their menswear-inspired pieces.
Stella went on to focus on her personal label Stella McCartney, thus handing the CD position to Phoebe Philo in 2001. By the time of Philo's appointment, Chloé was falling under the radar. Philo reinvented the brand and introduced the Paddington bag in 2005, which many have deemed the original "It-Bag." Thus, bringing Chloé back to the forefront of in-demand luxury fashion, in 2008 Philo then went on to head up Céline, another French fashion house.
In 2011, Clare Waight Keller was appointed the position of creative director following the departure of Phoebe Philo. Having previously worked designing knits at Gucci and Pringle of Scotland, Keller stayed true to certain aspects of the Parisian-chic, feminine aesthetic that Chloé is so infamously known for. However, she introduced a 70s bohemian feel to the company, a style that appealed to the fashion lovers and It-girls of the world. Like Philo, Keller introduced two new It-bags that became instant classics; the Drew and the Faye.
Natacha Ramsay Levi was named Chloé's creative director in 2017 upon the departure of Clare Waight Keller. Keller is now the first female creative head at Givenchy. Levi continues to uphold Chloé's chic, cool-girl aesthetic while perfectly balancing the masculine and the feminine. "I am very proud to be part of a house founded by a woman to dress women. I want to create fashion that enhances the personality of the woman who wears it, fashion that creates a character and an attitude, without ever imposing a 'look'," explains Levi when discussing her appointment.
A female-empowering brand, Chloé embodies the pure essence of cool-girl, chic. Chloé is always effortless, always feminine and always avant-garde. A true Parisian brand that will never go out of style, Chloé is an essential brand to have in any woman with a love for luxury's wardrobe.
By: Isabel de Carteret