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Running through February 18, 2024, the Jewish Museum in New York presents a captivating exhibition, “Mood of the moment: Gaby Aghion and the house of Chloé“, showcasing the trailblazing journey of Gaby Aghion, the founder of the renowned fashion house Chloé.

In the conservative fashion landscape of the 1950s, marked by Dior’s “New Look,” Gaby Aghion emerged as a revolutionary figure. Her Egyptian roots and exposure to Parisian fashion ignited a desire to create clothing that embodied ease, elegance, and remarkably, comfort – a stark contrast to the era’s norm. Aghion’s designs represented a seismic shift in fashion, introducing clothes that were not only stylish but also wearable and accessible.

Aghion’s vision for Chloé was not just about fashion; it was a cultural statement. The name Chloé, chosen for its feminine elegance, epitomized a new era of young, free, and casually elegant women. Breaking away from traditional salon shows, Aghion opted to present her collections in the very cafés where this new wave of bohemian spirit thrived. Her approach was a breath of fresh air in a predominantly male-dominated industry, challenging the norms and paving the way for a new fashion ethos.

The Jewish Museum’s exhibition is a journey through the evolution of Chloé, highlighting not only Aghion’s pioneering work but also the legacy carried forward by subsequent designers like Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney, and Phoebe Philo. The display of over 150 garments, sketches, and documents from Chloé’s archives offers a glimpse into the changing roles and styles of women through the latter half of the 20th century and into the 21st.

A striking feature of the exhibition is the display of 50 variations of the blouse, a testament to Aghion’s enduring influence and her personal style. This showcases Aghion’s dual nature: steadfast and pioneering, yet imbued with grace and femininity. Her philosophy, centered on independence and joy in creation, echoes throughout the exhibition.

This retrospective at the Jewish Museum not only celebrates Gaby Aghion’s contribution to fashion but also honors her role as a cultural icon who reshaped societal norms through her designs. It’s an exploration of a woman who, in her own words, never sought permission but forged her path, leaving an indelible mark on the fashion world. “Mood of the moment: Gaby Aghion and the house of Chloé” is an homage to a woman ahead of her time, whose influence continues to resonate in contemporary fashion.


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