Something about Chloe that I just learned, embarrassingly late perhaps for a fashion journalist showing that my fashion history is not exactly up to snuff, is the Alphabet collections. The brand was founded in 1952 and the designer Gaby Aghion wanted to make her collections stand out amongst the rest with a bit of creativity. She started from the letter “A” and every item was given a name starting with that letter…next was “B” and so on. The “alphabet” collections live in legend, and now the idea is being revived for the brand’s retrospective exhibit of archives “Chloe.Attitudes” for the 60th anniversary at Palais de Tokyo in Paris from the 28th.
26 worldwide bloggers were given a letter of the alphabet to introduce, and starting the 27th we will be revealing them one at a time until 11/14.
As for this blog, it was chosen specially to receive one of the hallowed letters from the CHLOE name. Yes, I’d say that’s an honor! So as my letter is “E”, why don’t I talk a bit about E for Embroidery.
Gaby was against the rigidity of the haute couture world but also knew how important the skills and techniques were. Thus she was one of the first designers to introduce the idea of “luxury pret a porter” by utilizing intricate beading into her ready-to-made collections. But she wasn’t into traditional bouts of embroidery a la duchesses and noblepeople, she instead brought in touches of humour and kitsch, making her ouvre one of fun.
Karl Lagerfeld latched onto this when he was head designer at Chloe, creating embroidery motifs out of shower heads, lightbulbs, and circus animals.
Embroidery is a funny thing, it’s true that it tends to come off as matronly and old. How many bouquets of flowers does one need to be painstakingly added to their frock? Take that off! The surreal and kitschy work that comes from the creative mind…and increasingly considered avant garde…is where it’s at. Now we don’t have embroidery, we get everything studded, right? Embroidery costs a pretty penny and is definitely a skill of couture and a lot of luxury. I took embroidery classes at Bunka Fashion College and it was a nightmare to try and get my hands to work the needle properly. I would be kicked out of an atelier tout suite!
See more in this short film on the intricately fun work of embroidery by Chloe. Since I`m in Paris, I`ll be reporting on the archive opening and afterparty soiree later on!