ONE HUNDRED years to the day, Gaby Aghion was born. Entering the world in Alexandria in Egypt in 1921, the daughter of a cigarette factory manager moved to Paris in 1945 with her husband. There, Aghion disliked the rigid post-war French fashion and decided to start her own brand in 1952 that encompassed the femininity that she felt lacked in fashion. Here, Chloé was born.
With just two months to create a debut collection, the French Maison’s new Creative Director Gabriela Hearst presented the autumn-winter 2021 collection. From Gaby to Gabi, the torch of ambition and modern femininity is still keeping the brand strong and alive all these years on.
Beginning the process of taking over the helm, Hearst started with a button and a quote. On the one hand, was a handmade, ceramic button with a slightly irregular shape and the other held words from the founder, “There was no luxury ready-to-wear; well-made clothes with quality fabrics and fine detailing did not exist”. Together, the designer began her journey of reinventing the codes of Chloé.
Trench coats and tailored jackets that attach themselves to the side of dresses make daily wear both durable to your routine and bring beauty to practicality. Knitwear is a strong player in this collection, giving a nod to the founder as recycled cashmeres and multicoloured wool struts down the runway and ponchos become puffers mixing the new urban lifestyle with classic pieces.
Looking at the first collections by Chloé all those years ago, scalloped detailing from her 1960 presentation at Brasserie Lipp is seen today in the top-stitching of georgette blouses, petals of leather and within denim patchwork. Broderie Anglaise is put into knitwear and Hearst brings an element of home to Paris by taking the marbling effect founded in New York to the artisans in the French capital.
Reminiscing on her first designer handbag, Hearst remembers receiving the Chloé Edith bag. Still, in love with her first piece of luxury, the creative director has re-issued the handbag in its original design but this time, it will be crafted from recycled cashmere, or jacquard and will come in three sizes.
Touching upon sustainability, this is a huge part of Gabriela Heart’s career. Her first steps at Chloé have been to make it more environmentally – a big move in an industry known for waste. She is eliminating polyester and viscose from collections, only sourcing recycled, reused and organic denim and ensuring 50% of silk comes from organic agriculture and 80% of cashmere is recycled.
Though we have only had a small taste of Hearst’s Chloé, there was a lot to chew off. Not only did she decide to honour the founder by showing her collection exactly a century from her birth, but she has evolved the brand already into the modern-day.
The updates to keep Chloé in line with sustainable production and waste reduction is already a step forward in the right direction and the collection itself looks at the beauty of women during a dark time.