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August 29 2014

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Chloé Surveys Its History At Sixty

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Sixty years ago, Gaby Aghion founded Chloé, the French label instrumental in the inception of ready-to-wear. Not only did the brand help launch the careers of Karl Lagerfeld, Martine Sitbon, Stella McCartney, and Phoebe Philo—all of whom took their turn at the house’s creative helm—but it revolutionized women’s relationship with luxury clothing.

In celebration of Chloé’s six-decade milestone, the brand has unearthed its archive (which was only developed after current designer Clare Waight Keller took the reigns last year) for Chloé Attitudes, a retrospective at Paris’ Palais de Tokyo. Curated by Judith Clark, the show—the first exhibition dedicated entirely to Chloé in the brand’s history—will feature 80 dresses by each of the house’s nine designers; sketches by Lagerfeld and Antonio Lopez; and photographs captured by the likes of Helmut Newton and David Lynch.

“I thought the exhibition needed to surprise the visitor as much as I was surprised looking at the archive,” Clark says of her approach, which plays vintage pieces off inspirations and influences to offer context: Floral looks will be displayed against a backdrop of the floral yellow tiles from Saint Germain’s Brasserie Lipp, where Aghion held the first Chloé fashion show and went often, for example, or Lagerfeld’s beaded shower dress installed beneath an actual silver showerhead, which, spouting crystals, magnifies the surreal nature of the design. Naturally, Lagerfeld’s famed violin dress, as well as Lopez’s iconic rendering of the frock, is included, along with Stella McCartney’s racy 2001 pineapple-print bathing suit, Hannah MacGibbon’s popular leather shorts and cape ensemble, and a selection of headpieces Clark had borrowed from the late Anna Piaggi. Unexpected elements of the past, like afro hairstyles that Angelo Seminara pulled from a seventies-era runway show or a wheat display case inspired by the Fall 2009 ad campaign (left), run throughout, offering a comprehensive glance into the house’s legacy.

The celebration will also have legs online with Chloé Alphabet, a digital interface that showcases select images from the archive, as well as five short films by Poppy de Villeneuve, Julie Verhoeven, Kathryn Ferguson, Stéphanie Di Giusto, and Mary Clerté. And come February, the brand will be reissuing limited editions of 16 iconic pieces, like the abovementioned violin dress and the Paddington bag.

Chloé Attitudes runs September 29 to November 18 at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, www.palaisdetokyo.com.

Photo: Francois Goize/WWD.com

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