Chloé Celebrates 60 Years at the Forefront of Fashion

Portrait of Gaby Aghion by Raymond Aghion

Portrait of Gaby Aghion by Raymond Aghion

From pineapple t-shirts to the Paddington bag, some of the most covetable pieces to ever go from runway to real life have come from the house of Chloé. For the first time in six-decades-long history, Chloé will be hosting an exhibition fêting the work of the maison‘s designers.

From September 29 through November 18, the Palais de Toyko in Paris will be transformed for the retrospective, titled Chloé. Attitudes. Just in time for Paris Fashion Week, the exhibit will expand the iconic Palais (almost tripling the exhibition space). In order to showcase the massive amount of archival material, which was discovered when Clare Waight Keller, Chloé’s latest creative director, took the reigns from Hannah MacGibbon, the team behind the retrospective utilized all the space created with the recent renovation.

“You might associate the maison with a rather dreamy, hippy girl,” said Waight Keller, “but in fact, at the heart of Chloé there has always been that free-spirited attitude that defies the status quo in fashion.”

Judith Clark, Preparatory Sketches Chloé. Attitudes

Judith Clark, Preparatory Sketches Chloé. Attitudes

The exhibit highlights the clean, industrial look of the Palais de Tokyo as a foil to the ultra-feminine Chloé house signatures (peach, chiffon, schoolgirl pleats and eyelet lace). Instead of walls and hallways, the exhibit will feature  illuminated glass panels to lead visitors through the exhibit, which explores Chloé’s history from its inception with founder Gaby Aghion.

When Gaby Aghion started Chloé in 1952, she set herself apart from other designers by bringing her fashion to the masses. Not only is she credited as being the first designer to create luxury ready-to-wear, she held impromptu fashion shows in cafés and public spaces, a sharp contrast to the pomp and circumstance that marked shows from Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent. In addition to Aghion, the exhibit will highlight the work of the designers that took charge of Chloé after her tenure, including fashion luminaries such as Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney and of course, Phoebe Philo and Clare Waight Keller.

Guy Bourdin, Vogue France, February 1979 - Copyright The Estate of Guy Bourdin - Reproduced by Permission of Art + Commerce feature

Guy Bourdin, Vogue France, February 1979 - Copyright the Estate of Guy Bourdin - Reproduced by Permission of Art + Commerce feature

Over 70 of the pieces in Chloé. Attitudes have never been seen before the exhibition. Discovered when Keller was scouring the brand’s archives for the Spring 2012 collection, the treasure trove included photos from famed photographers Guy Bourdin and Helmut Newton. They illustrate everything from the chiffon blouses and long skirts that are the brand’s signature to this day to more forward-thinking pieces such as Lagerfeld’s African-inspired collections and Philo’s leather shorts.

With pieces coming from every decade, displays run the gamut from classic Chloé girl (think ’70s-style bow blouses and outfits that could be pulled straight from Charlie fragrance ads) to accessories such as the brand’s wooden wedges — a mainstay in the boutiques no matter the season — and the Paddington bag, which some fashion editors credit as the original It-bag. News reports back in 2005 claim that luxury shopping Web site Net-A-Porter sold 376 bags in just 36 hours, prompting a mile-long (read: 700 names) wait list for the more popular colors. If that’s not enough to cement a brand into the fashion lexicon, nothing is.

Antonio Lopez, Karl Lagerfeld For Chloe, Spring-Summer 1983

Antonio Lopez, Karl Lagerfeld For Chloe, Spring-Summer 1983

Sandra Suy, Clare Waight Keller's First Chloe Collection, Spring-Summer 2012

Sandra Suy, Clare Waight Keller's First Chloe Collection, Spring-Summer 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The process of researching this anniversary show has been enlightening for me,” said Waight Keller, “as it contradicted my preconceptions of Chloé’s design history completely.”

It’s not just about the bohemian babe that so many associate with Chloé, as visitors will see. At the heart of the brand, Aghion infused a chic practicality with a free spirit. For every party dress and maxi skirt shown on the runway, there’s always a set of tailored pants and go-to blazers at the boutiques. The exhibition highlights all of what Chloé has become known for, but Judith Clark, the curator, insists that the exhibition not about nostalgia at the brand’s greatest hits, but illustrating how each designer pushes the Chloé girl forward.

“The themes may be old but the outlook is new and this is invested into the fabric of the exhibition,” Clark said.

For someone like Gaby Aghion, who always had her eye on the next trend, it seems like the perfect way to celebrate.

Chloé pineapple t-shirt

Chloé pineapple t-shirt

Chloé Paddington bags

Chloé Paddington bags

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you can’t make it to Paris to see the exhibit in person, the Chloé. Attitudes will also feature an online component, which will go live in October. And to give everyone a piece of history, Chloé is re-issuing iconic pieces from their archives that will be available for purchase at their boutiques worldwide, (They just so happen to be on display at the Palais, too.) including Karl Lagerfeld’s violin dress (shown in the Spring/Summer 1983 collection), Stella’s pineapple-emblazoned tee (shown during Spring/Summer 2001 and made famous by Naomi Campbell), Phoebe Philo’s Paddington bag, which made its debut in 2005 and a cape and leather shorts outfit that was the highlight of Hannah MacGibbon’s Autumn/Winter 2009 collection. Like the Paddington, though, each piece will have a limited run. With just 60 pieces — to coincide with Chloé’s 60 years in the business — each one will keep the tradition of Chloé’s must-have mystique alive. Buckle up those wedges, ladies, there’s sure to be another round of Paddington fever.

For more information on Chloé and Chloé. Attitudes, visit www.chloé.com and www.palaisdetokyo.com

Images courtesy Chloé and Style.com

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Author:Christopher Luu for Fashion Trends Daily

Christopher Luu is a Fashion Trends Daily Senior Writer and Menswear Editor.