2002 will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the house of Chloe. In the half-century since it was founded, the prestigious French label has stayed true to the concept of romantic, feminine fashion. Today, the houses newest Creative Director, Phoebe Philo, will bring her unique vision to this label at a moment when Chloe is enjoying unprecedented success. After fifty years, Chloe continues to connect with a new generation of stylish women.
The house of Chloe was founded in 1952 by two Parisians, Jacques Lenoir and Gaby Aghion. In a rapidly modernising post-war world, old traditions were giving way to new ideas, and their proposition was a radical one: they would make luxury pret–porter, delivering the kind of exceptional fashion off the rack that, until then, had only been available as couture.
The romantic, fluid clothes that they created marked a bold departure from the stiff formality of womens fashion in the early fifties. Chic, sensual, and unmistakably French, Chloe immediately established itself as a house that celebrated a softer aesthetic. In 1963, the houses founders appointed Karl Lagerfeld as head designer. Under Lagerfelds direction, the Chloe label produced iconic fashion: the gauzy floral prints and fluid, floating shapes that he created defined the bohemian spirit of the seventies and made Chloe one of the most popular labels of the period.
This era also saw the launch of the Chloe fragrance. Chloe, introduced in 1974, was an immediate commercial success, and continues to be one of the worlds best selling fragrances today.
In 1985, the Swiss-based luxury group Richemont Group bought the house from Aghion and Lenoir, and setting the company up for expansion on the international market. In the late eighties, Martine Sitbon helmed the house, bringing her uniquely modern vision of womens fashion to the label.
Lagerfeld returned to the house in 1992, and for the next five years he consistently reinvented the Chloe woman, dressing her in delicately torn neo-classical dresses, and bright hippie-inspired lace.
In the last five years, the house has undergone a dramatic period of growth. In 1997, the then twenty-six year old Stella McCartney took over as Creative Director. In a period that saw a new generation of customers embracing luxury fashion, McCartneys youthful, spirited sensibility re-energized Chloe and made it highly desirable once again. Infusing Chloes classic soft, romantic spirit with the pulse of the street, McCartney effortlessly mixed delicately feminine pieces with structured tailoring, putting flirtatious camisoles under skinny, tailored suits and pairing revealing blouses with low-riding jeans and stiletto heels. This vision of the new Chloe woman hit a chord with young women around the world, and proved hugely successful.
In April 2001, McCartneys creative partner, Phoebe Philo, assumed the position of Creative Director. Having played a pivotal role in the reinvention of Chloe, the young British designer will continue to grow the brand, launching new categories of merchandise such as accessories and swimwear, and developing the secondary line, See by Chloe.
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