Chloé Running Head: Industry Project
Designer: Chloé In APA Style Elizabeth Hock Virginia Commonwealth University
Although a relatively young design house, Chloé has already established itself as a luxurious yet attainable designer for young women. They have also created a solid reputation in the accessory world, especially with handbags. The label was started in 1952 by Gaby Aghion, along with her business partner Jacques Lenoir. The design house creates Ready-to-Wear lines, which show in Paris. Chloé produces and distributes women’s apparel, children’s apparel, handbags, shoes, accessories (including sunglasses and small leather goods), and a fragrance. The design house has been home to several very famous designers including Karl Lagerfeld and Stella McCartney. Although it is a luxury brand, Chloé tries to keep its products affordable for the luxury market and it widely distributed in order to remain easily accessible to the public. The company has done very well in its first five decades, and if it keeps its general aesthetic and business values intact, it can continue to rise in popularity and success in the fashion world. Gaby Aghion was born in Egypt in 1921, but moved to Paris in 1945. There she joined forces with Jacques Lenoir to create the label Chloé. The two debuted the first collection in 1956, in a popular café in Paris called “Café de Flore”. It was a well-known hot spot at the time for artists and existentialists, so it was the perfect location for a new and cutting edge fashion label. In an interview with “Fashion Week Daily”, Gaby Aghion stated she used a friend’s name for the label: “A friend of mine had that name, and I thought it was pretty...mythological, Chloé was a goddess-a wicked woman. But I'm not wicked; I have been strong” (Fashion Week Daily, 2006). Aghion and Lenoir agreed that “Chloé” was a perfect name for their new creation because they felt it went along with the current mood of Paris and that it had a feminine appeal (Chloé, n.d.). New York Magazine remarks that the label is for “chic young women” (“Chloe-Designer Fashion Label”, n.d.). Ms. Aghion calls her designs “luxury prêt-à-porter”; that is, she wanted to create pieces which were exquisitely made, yet attainable by the general public. Before Chloé, the
luxury fashion houses only produced couture lines. Bridging the gap between luxury clothing and mass produced clothing was a new and innovative concept, and it changed the face of the fashion world. This new market of luxury products created for mass consumption is still successful today. Other designers followed the lead that Chloé had set, and began to create their own “luxury prêt-à-porter” lines. The first design firm to do so was Givenchy, who in 1956, very soon after Chloé’s debut, released a ready-to-wear line called “Givenchy University” (Chloé Encyclopedia Topics, 2008). Today, Chloé still exclusively creates prêt-à-porter collections. Their prices are high, given that they still remain a luxury brand. Small clothing items (swimsuits, for example) cost around $250. Skirts, shorts, and tops range from about $800$1,000; and the more elaborate pieces (dresses, embellished tops) cost from $1,000-$3,000. Their accessories cost more around the $500 range, except for handbags, which are more highend, at $1,000-$3,000. Unfortunately (for many), this means that most middle class consumers cannot or do not purchase Chloé items often. Despite this price constraint, the brand is widely advertised and distributed. In the United States, Chloé operates three stores, including one in New York City and one in Los Angeles. They are also sold at: Bergdorf Goodman’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom (Chloé, n.d.). Their products are also sold on the Chloé website as well as the luxury internet retailer, Net-a-Porter.com. The brand is advertised in large fashion publications such as Vogue. Some of their past ad campaigns have featured celebrities such as Christy Turlington and Anja Rubik. Chloé has attracted many celebrity clients since their creation, including: Grace Kelly, Maria Callas, Jackie Kennedy, Brigitte Bardot, and more recently, Natalie Portman and Kirsten
Dunst (Chloé, n.d.). These celebrity clients help promote the brand as well because copious amounts of people see the celebrities on television, the internet, and in magazines and newspapers, sporting Chloé items. This makes “regular” people (non-celebrities) feel special because if they see that a celebrity owns an item which they also own, they will feel like they are fitting in with the upcoming trends and are part of an exclusive group. Also, if a person notices a celebrity they like being a fan of the Chloé label, they may build a loyalty as well. The label has an opportunity to gather many customers due to its wide array of products. Along with the lines of women’s apparel, Chloé also produces a children’s line, fragrance, sunglasses, small leather goods, footwear, handbags, sunglasses, and jewelry. Another factor which boots the consumer market is the array of designers Chloé has had throughout their history. This helps to bring a new vision to the Chloé label with each different designer, which brings in different customers. The current head of design is thirty-nine year old Hannah MacGibbon. Ms. MacGibbon was born in London, and graduated from the esteemed Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design (other alumni include Stella McCartney, Phoebe Philo, and Alexander McQueen). She then went to on to work as a first assistant to the famous designer Valentino, and eventually ended up working closely at Chloé with Phoebe Philo, who was the head designer for Chloé from 2001-2006. Philo is responsible for creating the popular “Paddington” bag in 2005, which inspired many knockoffs due to its high demand (“Chloé Luxury Fashion…,” n.d.). After working at Chloé for seven years, Hannah MacGibbon was named the design firm’s creative director on March 10, 2008 (Chloé, n.d.). In 1985, the Chloé label was bought by the luxury conglomerate Richemont. This enormous Swiss group also owns such brands as: Cartier Monde, Montblanc, Chloé (through Alfred Dunhill), Baume & Mercier, and Piaget. Their website states that they “are listed on the
SIX Swiss Exchange and traded on SWX Europe Limited, (Reuters "CFR.VX" / Bloombergs "CFR:VX") and are included in the Swiss Market Index ('SMI') of leading stocks” (“Shareholder Information”, n.d.). Like many other luxury brands, Richemont’s stock has suffered greatly in the past year. Its fifty-two week range is currently $14.18-$69.40, which is a huge difference for only one year. It reached its lowest of the year recently, in the beginning of March, 2009. Since the stock is starting to move back upwards now, maybe that is a sign that the entire economy will begin to improve in the near future. Luxury goods are very sensitive to economic strife because when people begin to lose money, luxury items are some of the very first expenses to be cut. With a fairly new designer at the helm, Chloé should be able to make a full recovery from the damages of the recession, both in America and worldwide. MacGibbon’s Spring and Summer collections are elegant and classic, which is what people are looking for right now. The colors are subdued and there are no lour prints. The collections still hold a luxurious element of elegance, while at the same time remaining classic and simply chic. After fifty years of success, the Chloé label is still relevant, stylish, and popular, and has the ability to remain as such for the next fifty years and beyond. They can do this by continuing to bring on new designers who bring a refreshing kick to the entire design house, while still keeping intact the feminine, Parisian style the label for which the label became famous.
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