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Chloé Sets 60th Anniversary Festivities

Fashion house will host a Paris exhibition and party that will dovetail with creative director Clare Waight Keller’s third runway show for the brand on Oct. 1.

Chloé by Karl Lagerfeld photographed by Guy Bourdin in 1979.

PARIS — Chloé will celebrate its 60th birthday this fall with a Paris exhibition and party that will dovetail with creative director Clare Waight Keller’s third runway show for the brand on Oct. 1.

This story first appeared in the June 7, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Lifting the veil on its plans for the milestone, the Paris house said it is also plotting a capsule collection of reedition styles, a new-look Paris flagship and a Rizzoli tome — rounding out festivities that will run into 2013.

The exhibition, yet to be titled, is to open on Sept. 28 at Palais de Tokyo, the newly expanded contemporary art space located near Trocadéro, and run to Nov. 20.

Curated by Judith Clark in collaboration with Waight Keller, the expo is meant to “translate the unique spirit of the brand,” said Chloé chief executive officer Geoffroy de la Bourdonnaye. “The heritage of Chloé is its youth….[Clark] understands the idiosyncracies of the house.”

Some 70 designs are to go on display, 16 of which will be reedited and sold next spring in Chloé flagships and select wholesale accounts. The items include clothing and accessories from a multitude of Chloé’s past designers, from founder Gaby Aghion and her immediate successor Karl Lagerfeld to more recent keepers of the flame: Stella McCartney and Phoebe Philo.

A digital version of the exhibition is slated to run either concurrent or consecutive to the Palais de Tokyo showcase, de la Bourdonnaye noted.

Clark has mounted many exhibitions for the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and recently won notice for the Diana Vreeland expo currently on at Palazzo Fortuny in Venice.

Rather than a chronological retrospective, the Chloé exhibition is “really a collage of ideas,” said Waight Keller, lauding the contrast between Palais de Tokyo’s vast, “brutalist” spaces and Chloé’s feminine designs.

“You sense a different woman through the different eras, but she’s always had a Chloé spirit to her,” she added.

That includes a few saucy moments in the Seventies. Among Waight Keller’s discoveries in trawling through the archive of clothes and images was a Helmut Newton photo of Paloma Picasso wearing a Chloé dress with her breast exposed. This represents the “confident, powerful” side of Chloé, she noted.

Yet real-life dressing is the main message. “This is not an archive of ballgowns. This is an archive of women’s wardrobes through the eras,” the designer said.

Waight Keller said the backward glance would help feed her next runway collection, which she hinted would have a distinctly “French” sensibility.

The anniversary festivities extend to retail, and in November, a 4,300-square-foot Chloé flagship is to open on Rue Saint-Honoré next to the Mandarin Oriental hotel, boasting a new concept by architect Joseph Dirand.

The large-format coffee-table book — with words by British journalist Sarah Mower and artistic direction by Mark Ascoli — is slated for release in fall 2013.

De la Bourdonnaye was upbeat about Chloé’s business momentum, but declined to discuss figures as parent Compagnie Financière Richemont — which also owns Cartier, Dunhill, Lancel and other brands — does not give such breakdowns. However, he noted that Chloé “was part of Richemont’s record year” and it would continue its retail expansion, opening at least 20 stores this fiscal year, including in SoHo in New York City, Las Vegas and several locations in China.