Chloé first made waves as a Parisian fashion house in 1952, when Egyptian founder Gaby Aghion introduced the world’s first high-fashion ready-to-wear line she dubbed “luxury prêt-à-porter.” Karl Lagerfeld became the main designer in 1966, making Chloé one of the most iconic brands of the '70s, worn by Jackie Kennedy, Brigitte Bardot, and Grace Kelly. In the late 1990s, Stella McCartney (daughter of Beatle Paul McCartney) brought the house even more acclaim.

But it wasn’t until McCartney’s assistant, Phoebe Philo, took over as creative director in the early 2000s that Chloé branched into the world of handbags, shoes, and other small leather goods. More than half a century after the company’s launch, Chloé made its entry into the slouchy oversized “It Bag” race, which thrived on middle-class fashionistas maxing out their credit cards on “must-have” designer bags.

The Chloé Paddington, introduced in spring 2005, sold out its first run of 8,000 handbags before a single copy hit the boutique shelves. That feat had been previously unmatched by any other It Bag, including the Balenciaga Lariat, the Fendi Baguette, or the Gucci Jackie bag. Named for its giant padlock, the soft, worn-in-looking Paddington had exaggerated functional attributes, like an extra-large zipper and hardware, that were so of-the-moment.

Riding the wave of the Paddington craze, Chloé introduced its Silverado Bag, a trapezoidal bag with whipstitched trim on the handles and side flap pockets. Chloé capitalized on these two popular handbags for a couple years, continually offering the Paddington and Silverado in new forms like satchels and hobo shoulder bags.

In 2006, Chloé introduced the Gladys, a large modern-looking leather tote bag with one or more zippers around the circumference. The girlie name meant it was intended for It Bag status: Any woman who bought one could automatically have a sense of intimate familiarity with her purse, as if it were her new best friend. Same goes for the Betty, a casual leather satchel feather big bulging pockets with bold zippers on the front, and the Edith handbag, with its fold-over buckle enclosure and buckled side pockets.

Chloé, a brand owned by luxury behemoth Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH), has also produced evening bags meant to be worn as bracelets and shoulder bags with big, chunky chains for the straps. The Chloé Bay Bag, a slouchy 2007 handbag with fat leather tabs that seem to form a smiling face on the front, got notoriety when it was carried by Britney Spears. The 2007 Heloise handbag featured braided leather on the handle. The 2009 Sally was a small flap bag with clean lines and a shoulder strap.

Nearly four years after the Paddington craze, Chloé had another It Bag pre-order sell-out with its Paraty, a trapezoid bag with thick leather piping that also seemed to have a big smile on the front. Perhaps the celebrities, like Katie Holmes and Rachel Zoe, flocked to this one because it had both handles and a detachable shoulder strap. The streamlined 2009 Marcie bag, also carried by Holmes and Jessica Alba, had a similar smile-like front pocket design and a wrapped-leather handle.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Bag Lady University

Bag Lady University

Bag Lady University is the place to learn about handbag makers from Adrian's, which made Bakelite bags, to Whiting … [read review or visit site]

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Authentic Chloe Caramel Brown Leather Paraty Shoulder Bag SatchelChloe Women's Tan Marcie Small Round Crossbody Bag PurseChloe Women's Marcie Convertible Calf Leather Bag - Burnt OrangeChloe Marcie Medium Black Leather Shoulder Bag Handbag PurseChloe Marcie Medium Black Leather Shoulder Bag Handbag PurseChloe Drew Medium Size Chain Shoulder Bag Chloe Drew Leather Shoulder BagChloe Marcie Saddle Bag Nice Bag Affordable PriceChloe Paraty Medium Black Leather Tote--authenticity GuaranteedAuthentic Chloe Hand Bag Black Leather 15957Chloe Paddington Bag (authentic & Genuine) - Brown Leather And Brass Lock & KeyAuthentic Chloe Hand Bag Mini Paddington Dark Blue Leather 15959Chloe Authentic Pebbled Black Shoulder Bag - Excellent Condition! Authentic Chloe Handbag1500$ Leather Black Double Pocket Chloe Bay Tote Handbag With Shoulder Strap Sephora Holiday Makeup Bag & 24 Perfume Samples Chanel Dior Chloe Clinique GuessAuthentic Chloe Paddington Bag In Blue Jean ColorChloe Ivory Putty Square Silverado Tote Hand BagSee By Chloe Red Leather Shoulder Bag, 04884424Chloe SatchelAuthentic Chloe Paddington Black Leaher Shoulder/handbag100% Authentic $1800 Chloe Brown Pyramid Studded Bag PurseChloe Grey Quilted Leather Small Bay Satchel BagChloe Dark Brown Leather Purse Date TagChloe Metallic Gold Leather Whipstitched Silverado Hobo BagSee By Chloe Eau De Parfum, Chloe Perfumed Body Lotion, Cosmetic Bag, Lot Of 3 Authentic Chloe Marcie Medium Satchel Handbag With Cross Body Strap$1130 Beautiful! Bnwt Chloe Mustard Maize Ochre Yellow Gold Nubuck Chain HandbagChloe Brown Leather HandbagHobo International Chloe Wallet Brown LeatherAuthentic Chloe Leather (with Coin Purse) Purse Zip Around