French pret-a-porter has lost one of its pioneering personalities in the midst of Paris fashion week. As WWD reports, Chloe founder Gaby Aghion passed away on Saturday at the age of 93 in her Paris home. The label's Spring/Summer 2015 show took place just hours after Aghion's passing, and was dedicated to the memory to the designer.
Aghion was born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1921 to a pair of French expats. She moved back to Paris in 1945, and immersed herself in the city's Bohemian scene. In 1952, Aghion founded Chloe alongside her friend and partner Jacques Lenoir. Post-war Parisian fashion world was dominated haute couture houses like Christian Dior, Givenchy, and Yves Saint Laurent. By contrast, Chloe's design philosophy incorporated luxury materials to make high-end clothing that could be sold off-the-rack. In an atelier's climate, this business model was innovative in its relative accessibility. Soon enough, the Couture houses were launching their own RTW lines.
Aghion is credited with discovering Karl Lagerfeld, whom she hired to head up the label in 1966. Although she sold her shares in the company in 1985, she has remained a fixture in the Chloe culture throughout her life. In addition to attending each fashion show, she continued to consult on the performance of her successors including: Stella McCartney, Phoebe Philo, and Claire Wright Keller. According to Fashionista, one of Aghion's final wishes was that her death not overshadow Chloe's fashion week presentation. As she wanted, the show went on as planned.
RIP Madame Aghion. She shaped the fashion world as it is today, and she will be sincerely missed.