Dynamic founder who fashioned Chloe

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Gaby Aghion, who started the Chloe fashion house and oversaw its rise as a post-war style icon, died at her Paris home last Saturday, aged 93.

"She left us today, discreetly and peacefully," the company said on its official Twitter account.

The Chloe spring/summer 2015 ready-to-wear show being staged yesterday at Paris fashion week "is dedicated to her", it said.

Born in 1921 to a wealthy family of intellectuals in Egypt, she was influenced early on by her fashion-forward mother, who had a seamstress make the family's clothes based on styles seen in magazines.

Aghion co-founded Chloe in 1952 with business partner Jacques Lenoir, taking the name from her girlfriend Chloe Huysmans.

The fashion house was one of the first labels to offer high-quality ready-to-wear and became known for its laidback elegance.

Several designers recruited by Aghion for Chloe became high-wattage stars in their own right, starting with Karl Lagerfeld, whom she named the head designer in 1966 and where he remained until 1984.

"Karl Lagerfeld truly created the Chloe identity. Evanescent, ephemeral, fluid, light as air, his clothing expressed the freedom and fantasies of an entire generation," she once said of the designer.

Lagerfeld, now creative director of Chanel and Fendi, as well as of his own labels, remembered Aghion's "incredible dynamism" during their 20-year collaboration.

"We made such beautiful things, which now seem to me so long ago," he said in a statement.

"We no longer saw much of each other but I always had great affection for her," he said, adding that Aghion must have been proud of the accomplishments of her son, Harvard economist Philippe Aghion.

Aghion sold her holdings in Chloe in 1985 to the Richemont luxury group, but remained faithful to the fashion house, attending nearly every catwalk show during the Paris season.

Writing in later years in a book about Chloe, she said: "I don't go out in public much, I don't like publicity... I have lived the life I wanted."

Last December, she received the Legion of Honour, France's highest distinction, attending the ceremony in a wheelchair.

 
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