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22 April

New label: Chloé

Chloé has been home to more designers than a cat has lives – and that’s just how Gaby Aghion, who died last year at the age of 93, intended it to be. Born in Egypt, Aghion established the company in 1952 with Jacques Lenoir and presented her first collection at renowned artists hangout Café de Flore, thus cementing the Left Bank (read: youthful, spirited) cred of the house, which helped shape the concept of the haute boho look. Chloé first became an incubator of talent in 1959 when Aghion passed the reins to French designer Gérard Pipart. Karl Lagerfeld joined the house as part of a design team in 1964, and for many years after, his name was synonymous with the house. The post-Lagerfeld years at Chloé (he did a second stint at the house in the early nineties) have been distinguished by the female talents at the helm: young Brits like Stella McCartney and Phoebe Philo, and, since 2011, Clare Waight Keller. Here, in memory of Gaby Aghion, the woman who started it all, a look at Chloé’s family tree. Gaby Aghion Aghion, cofounder of Chloé, designed the label from 1952 to 1959. The name of the house was borrowed from a friend. “I thought it was pretty,” she explained. “I could not put my name on the label because at that time you couldn’t do that.” Frenchman Gérard Pipart was Aghion’s chosen successor, designing at the house from 1959 to 1963, during which time the stylish Maxime de la Falaise was a sometime collaborator. Karl Lagerfeld Karl Lagerfeld did two stints at Chloé, from 1964 to 1983, and 1992 to 1997. When Lagerfeld first joined the house, he was part of a team that included Tan Giudicelli, Michèle Rosier, and Graziella Fontana. Soon he would be designer. The clothes that Karl Lagerfeld designs for Chloé, wrote Joan Juliet Buck in 1979 in Vogue: are the natural results of the world he creates; and if they sometimes seem to be from other times, it is because those other times have as much reality for him as rain and taxes have for the rest of us. Martine Sitbon Like Lagerfeld, Moroccan-born Martine Sitbon, at the house from 1987 to 1992, joined Chloé as part of a team that including Samy Chalon and David Chaumont; later she became sole designer. Stella McCartney Profits, and press, ballooned under McCartney’s leadership of the house, from 1997 to 2001. “Her influence on fashion is apparent everywhere,” wrote Vogue in 2000. “[T]here’s no mistaking the neo-Chloé look.” Phoebe Philo Philo came to Chloé with Stella McCartney and stayed when McCartney left to launch her own line. Among Philo’s blockbuster successes were the padlocked Paddington bag and—who would have guessed it?—high-waisted jeans. Philo, wrote André Leon Talley in Vogue, “is master of the imperfect perfect. Of the modern vintage.” Paulo Melim Andersson This Swede, plucked from Marni, was head of the house from 2006 to 2008. “I want to do something that is not sentimental,” he told Vogue, “something you can have a life in.” Hannah MacGibbon A Brit, Hannah MacGibbon, who first worked at the house with Phoebe Philo, took the helm from 2008 to 2011 and aimed to design clothes that were “understated, sensitive, real.” Clare Waight Keller Clare Waight Keller, an expat Brit, has been heading the house since 2011. When she started, Keller told Vogue’s Sarah Mower, “I immersed myself in the archive. But what’s stayed in my mind most is something the founder, Gaby Aghion, said in her interviews: ‘I don’t explain. I’m happy to live the life I wanted.’ That’s the spirit of Chloé, to me. I wanted to capture that feeling for today—the feminine side with the boyish side.” IMG_0121_1 IMG_0049_1 Behind the scene shots – Chloe SS15 campaign, by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin.