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    

Chloe 5775 Womens Black Leather Flap Chain Evening Clutch Purse Medium BhfoChloe Faye Small Leather Shoulder Bag Grey Chloe Black Leather & Red Topstitched Angie Shoulder BagAuthentic Chloe Shoulder Bag Paraty Black Leather 65574Chloe Anthracite Python Large Marcie Satchel Bag Chloe Faye Medium Bag In Motty Grey Most Popular OneChloe Marcie Messenger Crossbody Hobo Tan Brown Caramel Whiskey Shoulder BagLarge Chloe Brown Leather Hobo Saddle Bag Messenger Bag Auth Pre-owned Chloe Bag Small Hudson Leather Bag BurgundyChloe 9659 Womens Marcie Yellow Lamb Leather Purse Crossbody Handbag Medium BhfoAuthentic Chloe Shoulder Bag Heloise 7as799 Beiges Leather 65578Authentic Chloe Hand Bag Ethel 3s0658 Pinks Leather 142502Auth Pre-owned Chloe Bag Small Hudson Leather Bag CamelChloe- Whiskey Brown Leather Gold Tone Paddington Shoulder HandbagAuthentic Chloe Hand Bag Mini Paddington Beiges Leather 65332Chloe Paddington Handbag, Medium, Mocha Brown Leather AuthenticAuthentic Chloe Hand Bag Paddington Deep Brown Leather 65576Small Black See By Chloe Lou Suede & Leather Crossbody BagChloe PurseChloe Clare Handbag100% Authentic Chloe Drew Medium Shoulder Bag In BlackChloe Marcie Tresse Hobo Bag / Large / Nut Leather / Nut Brown / Rrp: £1,315.00Chloe Calfskin Medium Alice Springs Satchel Black Tan 130330Chloe Women's Carmel Brown Paddington Boots Size 40 BzjesfChloe White Leather Large Bay Satchel BagChloe Dilan ToteBlack Chloe Concept Purse With Cloth Storage BagChloe Dust BagAuth See By Chloe Bag Charm Key Ring Holder Pink