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Gaby Aghion, the founder of the French fashion house Chloé, blazed a bold trail for female entrepreneurship.
An Egyptian émigré in postwar Paris who became a fixture of the Left Bank intellectual scene, she spotted a gap in the market between the physical and financial constraints of haute couture and the ubiquitous (and often bad) dressmaker copies worn by many women. Ms. Aghion, a godmother of contemporary ready-to-wear fashion, today a multibillion dollar global industry, also hired a raft of talented young designers, including Karl Lagerfeld, subject of this year’s blockbuster fashion exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, set to open in May.
It feels fitting, then, that Ms. Aghion will soon have a show of her own. “Mood of the Moment: Gaby Aghion and the House of Chloé” is scheduled to open Oct. 13 and will be the first major museum exhibition on Chloé or its founder to be held in New York City. But it won’t be staged at one of the institutions usually favored for fashion exhibitions, like the Cooper Hewitt or the Fashion Institute of Technology. Instead, the show will be unveiled 10 blocks north of the Met on Fifth Avenue — at the Jewish Museum.
“Very few people appear to know that Gaby was Jewish or as much about her incredible life and entrepreneurship as they should,” Claudia Gould, the museum’s director, said on a telephone call this week. She suggested that, in part, that may be because Ms. Aghion, who often said her name sounded like that of a fortune teller, opted to use the name Chloé upon which to build her fashion business rather than her own.