Posts in the Maxime de la Falaise category

Chloé by Karl LagerfeldGaby Aghion founded the label Chloé shortly after she arrived in Paris in 1952. Aghion’s goal was to provide women with clothing that was easily accessible and modern, yet of a much higher quality than typical French ready-to-wear fashion. Aghion’s designs were sold off-the-rack at several boutiques that she herself frequented, but a seamstress trained in haute couture techniques had made them, ensuring that the garments were high quality.

At the encouragement of Maïme Arodin, editor of the influential fashion magazine Jardin des modes, Aghion relinquished her role as the label’s sole designer and began to recruit a number of new talents to carry Chloé forward. These designers included Christiane Bailly, Maxime de la Falaise, Graziella Fontana, Tan Giudicelli, Gérard Pipart, and Michèle Rosier. Of Aghion’s many successful hires, none gained more recognition than Karl Lagerfeld, who began working for the label in 1964. His sense of fantasy and exuberance, as well as his creative reinterpretations of historic styles, soon came to characterize the Chloé brand. His impact was such that he was frequently distinguished as the creator of a certain garment in a way that the other Chloé designers were not (the credit line “Karl Lagerfeld for Chloé” appeared in Vogue Paris as early as 1965).

Chloé by Karl Lagerfeld, “Astoria” dress
Gift of Melanie Miller

This is Lagerfeld’s 1967 “Astoria” dress, which took inspiration from Thomas Malory’s book Le Morte d’Arthur, illustrated by Aubrey Beardsley in 1893. The full-length, high-necked, and long-sleeved design stood out in a period of micro-mini, body-revealing styles, but Lagerfeld’s unique design sensibility is even more evident in the floral motifs hand-painted by Nicole Lefort. The expanse of ivory silk crepe used to make the dress acted as a canvas for an array of colorful, stylized flowers that swirl around the entire garment – so precisely rendered that they look screen-printed, rather than hand-painted. Chloé’s ready-to-wear revolution had truly come into its own.

Paris Refashioned, 1957-1968 runs through April 15, 2017 at The Museum at FIT in NYC.