Thursday, 2 October 2014

I have lived...





We bid a sad farewell to Madame Gaby Aghion last weekend - the formidable co-founder of the remarkably successful French fashion house Chloé, and proud creator of a post-war style somewhere between Haute Couture and the High Street that she liked to call "prêt à porter de luxe".











Facts about Mme Aghion:
  • She was born in Alexandria, Egypt - her father was a Jewish cigarette factory manager - and she met her husband-to-be Raymond while they were still in school there.
  • An émigré in Paris in the 50s, she and her friends were unable to afford extravagant "New Look" couture fashions so started making their own; thus the line that became Chloé (named after one of those friends) was born.
  • Distinctly Bohemian by instinct, her very first fashion show was held during breakfast at the Café de Flore, the haunt of poets, artists and "free-thinkers" of the day (André Breton, Arthur Koestler, Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote, Lawrence Durrell and Albert Camus among them).
  • One of her fashion muses and designers was 50s "supermodel" Maxime de la Falaise (Loulou's mum), who also worked with Elsa Schiaparelli and went on to be an even more famous muse to none other than Andy Warhol.
  • Far more successful nowadays for his own eccentric influence on couture, Karl Lagerfeld started out in the fashion world working on designs for Chloé, and only left Madame's employ in 1983.
  • In 2012, Chloé (nowadays subsumed into the conglomerate of Dunhill-Compagnie Financière Richemont) celebrated its sixty years in operation with an extravagant show of Mme Aghion's (and others') designs at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris
"I don't explain anything, I have lived... I lived the life I wanted. I soundly believed in all of this and I held on."

Gabrielle Aghion (née Hanoka, 1921 [date unknown] – 27th September 2014)

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