Chloé marks 60th anniversary Featured

See how the free-spirited French brand is celebrating its prêt-à-porter milestone

The Chloé story begins in Paris, 1952: clothing is at a crossroads between extravagant haute couture and the modern woman’s demand for functional fashions. Enter Gaby Aghion, highly independent, free spirited and exotic – by way of Egypt. Sensing this need to fuse fine design with an everyday wardrobe, the 24-year-old coins the term prêt-à-porter (ready-to-wear). Her idea is to see appealing apparel sold off the rack, rather than painstakingly made to order. The clothes were going to be informal, yet stylish, accessible, but well made. Chloé’s debut fashion show is indicative of this attitude. Shunning the stuffy Parisian salons, Aghion stages her show at her favourite corner side Café de Flore on Paris’ Left Bank.

Sandra Suy, a sketch of Clare Waight Keller's first Chloé collection

Chloé has come a long way from that café on Boulevard St. Germain, with an influential cast of characters passing through its six decades. Its story is now the subject of the exhibit ‘Chloé. Attitudes.’ The first in a new ‘Fashion Progam’ series of exhibitions organized by Paris’ Le Palais de Tokyo, it presents 70 iconic pieces from the brand’s archive with a focus on its best-known designers from Karl Lagerfeld to Stella McCartney. “This is a forward-looking show that maps the continuities running through the entire history of the Maison,” explains curator Judith Clark. Alongside the bright, graphic prints of the Sixties, the soft chiffon daywear of the Seventies and the Surrealist elements of the Eighties are never-before-published drawings and photographs captured by the lenses of Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin and David Bailey.

Sketch of violin dress by Karl Lagerfeld for Chloé, Spring-Summer 1983

Starting in February 2013, Chloé boutiques will also carry the ‘édition Anniversaire’ collection to mark the Maison’s 60th anniversary. Re-issuing 16 of its most iconic pieces spanning from 1960-2009, the collection includes Gaby Aghion’s simple jersey ‘Embrun’ dress from 1960, Karl Lagerfeld’s ‘Violin Dress’ of spring/summer 1983, Stella McCartney’s pineapple T-shirt of spring/summer 2001, the Paddington Bag introduced by Phoebe Philo in 2005 and the cape and leather shorts by Hannah MacGibbon of fall/winter 2009.

The new 'Alice' bags for fall

Write the next chapter of the Chloè saga with the new ‘Alice’ handbag. Available in stores now, this Seventies-inspired must-have is sophisticated and casual, fashioned out of supple leather and enhanced with python or vegetable-tanned leather. Speaking of the future, here’s what current Creative Director, Clare Waight Keller had to say about how the anniversary inspired her: “what we found is quite provocative and powerful – clothes at the intersection of couture ‘savoir- faire' and youth ‘savoir-être.’ They speak to an independent woman who embraces the challenges of modern life. At the heart of Chloé there has always been that free-spirited attitude that defies the status quo in fashion.” Here’s to Chloé’s next dynamic era!

See our favourite Chloé accessories for fall HERE

Read more on Chloé's history HERE