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Chloe: Still Ready-to-Wear

The name behind the iconic fashion house of Chloe is Gaby Aghion. It is said that she was the first person to give a name to the concept of ready-to-wear clothing – clothing available off the rack that still looked and fit was well as more expensive tailored clothing.

The Woman Behind Chloe

The woman who created Chloe was born as Gabrielle Hanoka in Alexandria, Egypt. She met the man who would become her husband, Raymond Aghion, when they were both still in school, at the age of seven. They were both Jewish, but had much more in common than that. They married when they were 19 years old, and moved to Paris in 1945. The couple spent a lot of time with artists, particular with writers, and Gaby eventually became a fashion artist herself. Chloe was created in 1952, while her husband opened a modern art gallery in 1956.

Clothing in the 1950s tended to be stiff and very traditional. Gaby tossed that aside, instead creating clothing that was more soft and distinctly feminine, using some of the best fabrics available. She called them “prêt-a-porter” or “ready to wear”, luxury clothing that could be bought and taken home off the rack, as they were. While clothing off the rack was not a new concept, it was unusual then to be able to get nice clothing that way.

Gaby Aghion worked from a room above her flat to produce her clothing, with the aid of Jacques Lenoir who took care of business matters. The first Chloe fashion show was in 1956 at a café where many young and bright Parisians would meet during that time. Aghion would recall that as a great time, when everything was new, because nothing had yet been invented. Each of her creations was seen as fresh and bold.

As her business grew, she hired more assistants, including a young Karl Lagerfeld among other rising stars of the fashion world. By 1966, Lagerfeld had become the main designer of Chloe, and he helped make the brand one of the big names of the fashion world in the 1970s, attracting the likes of Grace Kelly, Maria Callas, Brigette Bardot, and Jackie Kennedy.

Gaby Aghion was the force behind Chloe for more than 30 years, until the company became the property of what is now known as the Richemont Group in 1985.

The House of Chloe

The first Chloe fragrances were launched while Gaby Aghion was still at the helm. The first of these was named after the brand, as many first fragrances are. Chloe perfume is still a classic today, with a sweeter version mixed for the 1990s called Chloe Narcisse. Currently, all Chloe fragrances are made in association with cosmetics giant Coty.

Karl Lagerfeld was the impetus behind the original Chloe. It embodies the spirit of the brand – feminine and romantic, overflowing with floral essences. Orange blossom, hyacinth, coconut, lilac, bergamot, aldehydes, honeysuckle, ylang-ylang, coconut, and peach create the delightfully complex top notes. The heart is a garden of rose, tuberose, carnation, jasmine, and narcissus. It all rests on a base of sandalwood, benzoin, amber, musk, cedar, and oakmoss.

Though Gaby Aghion has moved into the background, the creative impulse of Chloe still goes on. This is aptly displayed by the new fragrances the brand releases, as well as their new lines of clothing. L’Eau de Chloe is one of these new fragrances, launched in 2012. This is a variation of another recent offering, Chloe Eau de Parfum. It is a bright scent, like both spring and summer, with sparkling notes of citrus, rose and rosewater, and the warm touch of patchouli.

The recent new line of clothing from Chloe is called See, made for the modern young woman of the 21st century. With it comes a new fragrance, also dubbed See. It opens with fruity notes of apple blossom and bergamot, into a sweetly floral heart of ylang-ylang and jasmine, resting on a base of musk, sandalwood, and sweet, smooth vanilla. It is energetic and fresh, just like the clothing it is meant to accompany.

Just as Grace Kelly and Jackie Kennedy once loved the designs of Chloe, now new generations of famous women develop a love for the sense of style in this brand, women such as Clemence Poesy, Jessica Alba, and Kirstin Dunst. It has been more than fifty years since Chloe made its debut, but women still love the ultra-feminine look promoted by the brand. Soft and elegant never go out of style.

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