A new exhibit at The Jewish Museum pays homage the House of Chloé’s visionary founder, Gaby Aghion.
Gaby Aghion in the desert near Alexandria, Egypt
For more than 70 years, French fashion house Chloé has defined timeless feminine fashion. This season, The Jewish Museum presents a stunning exhibition titled Mood of the moment: Gaby Aghion and the house of Chloé, in honor of the brand’s late visionary designer.
Gaby Aghion spring/summer 1960 fashion show at Brasserie Lipp on Nov. 25, 1959
Project director Claudia Gould shares that the inspiration for honoring the Jewish designer’s legacy is twofold. “The Museum is always on the lookout for female cultural leaders and entrepreneurs so we can tell their stories through art and design,” she says. “I was told by a colleague, Dennis Freedman, who was consulting for Chloé in 2020, about Aghion starting the label Chloé (a major feat in postwar France where women just won the right to vote in 1945 and could not hold bank accounts in their name nor own their own companies).” As for the second layer, “The museum has a deep cultural interest in examining topics that can be broader than the obvious,” Gould adds. “Centering this exhibition around Aghion as the core story and exhibiting the designers of Chloé of the past 70-plus years allows the museum to broaden its perspective while keeping to its core mission, which is to tell the stories of Jewish people of all backgrounds.”
Mood of the moment will feature nearly 150 garments as well as never-before-exhibited sketches and documents from the Chloé archive, including works by the industry stars like Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney and Phoebe Philo. And what Gould is most excited to highlight? “The last room of the exhibition where we will have over 100 quintessential white Chloé blouses from the past 70-plus years; then, of course, the handpainted long shift dresses by Karl Lagerfeld, which are showstoppers in their simplicity and grandeur.”
The exhibit demonstrates how Aghion’s work liberated women’s bodies from the restrictive styles of the time. “Don’t short-sight women, their vision and abilities,” Gould concludes. “Even Gaby could not have imagined aft er 70 years how the brand thrives.” Through Feb. 18, 1109 Fifth Ave.
Photography by: FROM TOP: PHOTO BY: RAYMOND AGHION, CA. 1940–45. COURTESY PHILIPPE AGHION AND CHLOÉ ARCHIVE, PARIS; PHOTO BY: COURTESY CHLOÉ ARCHIVE, PARIS