In spring 2005 I was a Chloe addict. I had just finished reading “Bergdorf Blondes” by Plum Sykes, where the protagonist is a Vogue Contributor and socialite obsessed with Chloe jeans. Chloe was about to release Phoebe Philo’s magnum opus, the Paddington Bag, and for me, the timing was perfect. I was about to graduate law school and in need of a new, fashionable handbag with an air of professionalism. The bag was on the arms of every important model and actress before its release, and even in a time that predated Instagram, I was inundated with images of the Paddington all over the internet. I devoted several hours of study time calling every Chloe boutique and high end department store in the Continental US getting on waiting lists and frequently checking in for status updates in the days gearing up to the bag’s release. Nordstrom eventually called me with the news that they had a Paddington bag for me from the initial release if I could pay immediately. I could hardly believe, out of every store I called, my former employer/bain of my existence would save me from fashion despair and humiliation.
Even in Baltimore, where fashion oft goes to die, people looked at me with respect and admiration when I carried my Paddington. It was heavy as hell, the equivalent in weight of carrying around a small anvil on my shoulder, but I didn’t care. It was crafted with the most equisite, thick leather I’d ever touched and perfctly complemented every outfit. I was a young, recent law grad sporting the absolute hottest It-Bag and I was completely Chloe obsessed. I wanted Chloe jeans and a Chloe wallet and Chloe shoes- I nearly fainted when I read about the Paddington boots slated for release that fall.
Chloe was the brand of the moment…And then Phoebe Philo left. Did a part of me die the day her departure was announced? Possibly. Philo would eventually end up as Creative Director of Celine and recreate her It-Bag fever with the Luggage Tote. But, even with the success of the Marcie and Tess bags, Chloe was stagnant for years. They certainly fell off my radar.
Last week, after my stint rediscovering Celine, I was inspired to visit the Chloe boutique in Bal Harbour for the first time. And guess what? Chloe is back! The new Creative Director, Natacha Ramsay-Levi, is young and hip and revitalizing the brand to its glory years with nods to former design heads Karl Lagerfeld, Stella Mccartney, and of course, Phoebe Philo. The accessories are on point, headed by the new C-Bag and some gorgeous leather totes with affordable (by luxury standards) price points. I am completely lusting over a tan leather vest that reminds me of the Paddington. And speaking of the Paddington, Ramsay-Levi is reimagining the bag for fall. Looks like my Chloe days are back! Its time to diversify my investment portfolio, aka my closet, and add some Chloe!