Chloe's Fashion Evolution
Boyish blazers, nifty printed chiffon blouses, trousers with just the right amount of slouch, and bold embroidery. You imagine the Chloe muse accessorizes such items with a pair of huge seventies sunglasses and a permanent expression of bored amusement on her face. Celebrated fans of the brand include Brigitte Bardot and Kate Moss – both women who are second to none in the style stakes, though both often associated with the word ‘effortless’.
Although still going strong after more than 50 years, a glance at the brand’s history can make it look a bit like an elite training ground for designers. It was originally founded in Paris by the Egyptian-born Gaby Aghion and her business partner Jacques Lenoir in 1952, whose concept was a luxury ready-to-wear line as an alternative to couture, which at the time was a new concept. Karl Lagerfeld arrived in 1966 and stayed until the eighties when he moved to Chanel. Then Martine Sitbon took over for several years, followed by Lagerfeld once again for five years. Stella McCartney succeeded him before leaving to launch her own line; she was followed by her former assistant Phoebe Philo, who took over in 2001 to a rapturous response from the critics.
In 2006 Philo bowed out to spend some time with her young family and was followed briefly by Yvan Mispelaere and then, less briefly, by Paulo Melim Andersson. Andersson was replaced three collections later by Hannah MacGibbon, who learned her craft at Central Saint Martins, then assisted Pheobe Philo during her tenure at the unsettled French fashion house.
For the past year, Scottish Clare Waight Keller has taken the helm, and been applauded for her return to a form of Seventies elegance that fits so well with the brand’s heritage. Or, as she put it, ‘Chloé is a brand that conveys a beautiful sense of effortless femininity and vivacious sophistication that I look forward to continuing into the next era.