International Women’s Day

Gaby Aghion from Chloé 

Gaby Aghion was born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1921 and married her husband Raymond Aghion when they were both only 19 years old. In 1945 they moved from Egypt to Paris, France. Seven years later, in 1952, she opened House of Chloé. In her designs, Gaby Aghion ejected the formality of the 1950s and instead created soft, feminine and body-conscious items. She called them “luxury prët-à-porter”, meaning luxurious ready-to-wear which was unusual for its time.

Photo: The Vintage Bar

The brand's first fashion show took place outside Café de Flore in Paris which, at the time, was the hub of the sophisticated French youth. 

Chloé was part of Karl Lagerfeld’s design journey as well, as Agihon hired him early in his career. Gaby Aghions son, Philippe says, “he and my mother made a fantastic team”. 

Gaby Aghion continued to lead Chloé until the company was bought by Dunhill Holdings – now Compagnie Financière Richemont – in 1985. She died in Paris in September 2014 at 93 years old.

International Womens Day


Jeanne Lanvin from Lanvin 

Jeanne Lanvin was born in Paris on January 1st 1867. She was the eldest of 11 siblings meaning she had to be independent from a young age. 

She started working at only 13 years old with a milliner where she was in charge of delivering hats all over Paris. She was a clever girl and followed behind the bus on foot to save money on bus tickets. This got her noticed and she was able to quickly work her way up in the company. She started her apprenticeship at the same milliner not too many years later and the hats made by “Mademoiselle Jeanne” were a great success. 

At only 22 years of age, Jeanne Lanvin was able to get her creations – labeled “Lanvin (Mademoiselle Jeanne) Modes” – on the heads of the most fashionable Parisians.

In 1897, Jeanne Lanvin gave birth to her greatest love and muse – her daughter Marguerite. Jeanne Lanvin designed incredibly sophisticated items for her daughter and the pair never left each other’s side. The grown Lanvin decided to start designing children’s clothing from here on out and she would later delve into men’s and women’s wear as well. The entire brand of Lanvin stems from the unconditional love between mother and daughter. 

Jeanne Lanvin died in 1946.

Sonia Rykiel from Sonia Rykiel

Sonia Rykiel was born Sonia Flis in Neuilly-sur-Seine in May of 1930 to a Polish mother and Romanian father and she would later have four younger sisters. 

At the age of 17, she started dressing window displays in Paris and in 1953 she married Sam Rykiel – the owner of a clothing boutique. The pair had two children together and later divorced. 

Sonia Rykiel launched her brand by the same name in 1968. The brand launch came after the success of her Poor Boy sweater – a fitted pullover with ribbing on the body and sleeves for women and girls – after it was featured on the cover of French Elle. Sonia Rykiel was known as the “Queen of Knits” because of her knitwear designs and new techniques. She was also the first designer to put seams on the outside of her clothing – never afraid to break tradition. 

Photo: The Vintage Bar

When it came to dressing herself, Sonia Rykiel liked to dress simply because she hated wasting time getting dressed. She was also known for her distinctive red hairstyle – a short bob with heavy fringe.

Besides knitwear, the brand Sonia Rykiel also creates clothing, accessories and fragrances and Sonia Rykiel even published her first book in 1979. 

Sonia Rykiel revealed in 2012 that she had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and died from complications of the disease in August 2016 aged 86.


If you want to know more about women in fashion, you can read more about Miuccia Prada from Prada in our Prada Bible and you can learn more about Elsa Schiaparelli from Schiaparelli in our article Haute Couture Fashion Week: What to know. Lastly, you can also read more about Maria Grazia in our Dior Bible and Virginie Vard from Chanel in our Chanel Bible.

Written by Alberte Gram
Alberte Gram is a fashion writer based in London.
The people pictured are not associated with The Archive
or The Vintage Bar, and do not endorse the products shown.