Hazine

24.02.2015 - Jessica Marrazzo

Label

TIMELESS ICONS

TAKING ITS ORIGINS IN CONTEMPORARY FRENCH DESIGN, CHLOÉ HAS ALWAYS PUSHED THE BOUNDARIES OF FASHION, EVOLVING THROUGH THE PASSING SEASONS WITH READY-TO-WEAR COLLECTIONS THAT CHOOSE STYLE OVER TRENDS. TODAY THE BRAND HAS EMERGED STRONGER THAN EVER, BECOMING A NATIONAL TREASURE WITH A RICH HERITAGE.

The brand continues to be based in Paris, with numerous branded boutiques all over the world. Elegant and free, the sleek collections shown in recent years have resonated with cosmopolitan women everywhere, gaining a cult following thanks to the avant-garde designs. Chloé has always invested in emerging designers, creating a platform for French excellence with an international twist.

FRENCH INNOVATION

Founded in 1952 by Gaby Aghion and Jacques Lenoir, Chloé has always been the symbol of luxury French style. It was the first brand to introduce luxury Prêt-à-Porter collections, going against the surrounding Parisian Haute Couture traditions of the time. It was a radical transformation, replacing stiff formality with flowing, feminine silhouettes, embracing a new concept of beauty.

The brand has also been known to spot rising talents in the design world, starting with the appointment of Karl Lagerfeld as head designer in 1963, before working with Martine Sitbon, Guy Paulin and Paulo Melim Andersson. Lagerfeld had a long-lasting connection with the design identity, bringing a clear romantic direction to the collections, exploring abstract floral prints across fluid gauze fabrics, and defining the bohemian spirit of the time with a high-end twist. During his reign, the company launched its iconic fragrance line too, adding to Chloé’s commercial success whilst sensually exploring the brand’s developing character.

When Chloé began to lose it’s innovative edge in the eighties, Lenoir and Aghion decided to sell the company to the Richemont Group, which inevitably gave way to international expansion. The following decade welcomed a new generation of luxury customer, along with a period of unprecedented success. Stella McCartney’s artistic influence energised the collections once more, making it a highly desirable name in the fashion world. By mixing feminine dresses with sharp tailoring and revealing shirts over jeans and boots, a new style juxtaposition was formed, resonating with young women all over the world. Phoebe Philo followed in her footsteps, making a name for herself by creating a selection of Chloé “it-bags” in quick succession, increasing the demand for their exclusive, limited edition products.

A NEW ERA

After a series of collections following diverse design directions, Chloé needed to establish a new path to continue revitalising its signature minimalist aesthetic. Clare Waight Keller was appointed as creative director in 2011, adding a fresh twist that the management was looking for. In fact, her designs have enjoyed success in the media, known for possessing a certain feminine confidence with a clean organisation of looks. She often attributes her success to her deep affinity with the Chloé identity, stating, “It’s not a conceptual brand. It’s much more sensitive. It’s intuitive to women”. It is these ethereal, empowering values that drive the designs, putting the focus on a well-travelled, wholesome lifestyle.

Whilst the creative form may have metamorphosed throughout the passing seasons, the personality of the brand remained the same. Gaby Aghion once stated that fashion should be as “fresh as salad”, reflecting the cultural changes happening in the world whilst maintaining an iconic, timeless element. It’s about achieving a mix of French tradition, a focus on quality and effortlessly flattering cuts. Perhaps it’s a wide legged trouser in a soft, thick woollen fabric, or an oversized, masculine shirt with sheer, translucent panelling. Each shape leaves space for the imagination, exalting the female form whilst retaining an ethereal state of modesty.

The result goes far beyond a brand, extending to a tangible lifestyle that appreciates the simple pleasures. Today, Chloé has numerous branded boutiques around the world, from Europe and Asia to America and the Middle East. In keeping with the innovative spirit that encouraged Gaby Aghion to launch the company all those years ago, it continues to be one of the leading names in luxury, mixing the old with the new to create an iconic style that has proven to stand the test of time.

Who Wears it?

Short Facts

Trademark

Chloé is renowned for flowing silhouettes, teaming feminine statement pieces with playful tailoring. It’s a style that mixes old elements with the new, exploring an ever-changing mix with timeless appeal.

Distinctiveness

Chloé made a conscious decision to avoid an in-house e-commerce, despite their innovation in technology. This marks it apart as a traditional luxury French brand, maintaining the importance of one-to-one consultations in the company’s numerous boutiques around the world.

Designer History

1952-1966 Gaby Aghion
1966-1983 Karl Lagerfeld
1983-1987 Guy Paulin
1988-1992 Martine Sitbon
1992-1997 Karl Lagerfeld
1997-2001 Stella McCartney
2001-2006 Phoebe Philo
2006-2008 Paulo Melim Andersson
2008-2011 Hannah MacGibbon
2011 – present Clare Waight Keller

Most Important Designers

Timeline

1952 - Innovative ideas

Gaby Aghion founds Chloé with her partner Jacques Lenoir in Paris. They become the first designers to create Prêt-à-Porter, going against the traditions of traditional French Haute Couture. Four years later, they launch their first official collection together, showing to a selected number of artists at Le Café de Flore.

1966 - A style icon

Karl Lagerfeld is appointed head designer, and Chloé becomes one of the iconic brands of the era, attracting the likes of Jackie Kennedy, Brigitte Bardot and Grace Kelly as customers. In 1971, the company opens its first boutique on 3 rue Gribeauval in Paris. Soon after, they also launched the fragrance line, capitalising on their growing commercial success.

1985 - Change in the air

Gaby Aghion and Jacques Lenoir decide to sell the business, and the Richemont group buys out Chloé. Rising designers such as Guy Paulin and Martine Sitbon take the helm of the creative direction, exploring the brand identity further with a more minimalist edge.

1997 - An evolving aesthetic

Stella McCartney joins the business as creative director, putting her own feminine and romantic twist on the brand. The evolving aesthetic attracts a new, younger customer base, appealing to cosmopolitan women all over the world, including Kirsten Dunst and Natalie Portman. Phoebe Philo transfers to Paris to assist Stella, taking over her role from 2001. During this period that they launch a collection of Chloé “it-bags” starting with The Paddington in 2002.

2010 - The new age

Geoffroy de la Bourdonnaye takes up the position of CEO with Ralph Toledano as chairman, signalling a reorganisation in the company. After having followed the changes within the company over the past era, Hannah MacGibbon, and subsequently Clare Waight Keller, continues to lead the brand from strength to strength. The design ethos becomes ever stronger, with innovation leading the way. Chloé becomes the first luxury brand to have a mobile optimised website, despite deciding against an in-house e-commerce, as well as amongst the first to stream their fashion shows too.

Photo:

Courtesy of Chloé, ©gettyimages

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