In 1965, Aghion hired Karl Lagerfeld, a young German designer who would become the creative designer for the firm, the first in a line of prestigious names like Stella McCartney (1999) or the current Claire Waight Keller. Aghion led the business from its creation until it was sold to Dunhill Holdings in 1985, but regardless of this evolution, one can still find the vintage feel and pastel tones that characterize the brand.
Exceptional photographers like Guy Bourdin, Jean-Loup Sieff, Peter Lindbergh, Helmut Newton and David Bailey have worked for the brand, as well as renowned artists like Antonio Lopez with references to the work of Aubrey Beardsley. Also present were the “in” girls of their moment: Jane Birkin, Geraldine Chaplin and Ines de la Fressange, or the supermodels Claudia Schiffer and Christy Turlington, regulars at the fashion shows during the time Lagerfeld worked with firm. Gaby Aghion belongs to the exclusive circle of women who, like Coco Chanel or Elsa Schiaparelli, rebelled against the way women dressed in the era in which they lived. Their different view of fashion has survived decade after decade. Aghion coined the term prêt-à-porter, so often used nowadays in the fashion vocabulary.
The French Maison is celebrating its sixtieth anniversary with a magnificent exhibition in the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. Additionally, in 2013 it will launch a limited collection of 16 pieces inspired in the original designs of the firm: Lagerfeld’s 1983 “violin” dress, McCartney’s 2001 pineapple tee, or the very popular handbags created by Phoebe Philo in 2005 are some of the pieces that return to life.
Perhaps the most poignant moment of the opening night was seeing an emotional Gaby Aghion, witness to the evolution of fashion through the 60 years of Chloé. ■