Currently Channeling: Coco Chanel

Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel (1883-1971) has always been a naturalista fashionista and inspiration in my eyes. A sense of class, poise, confidence, and elegance is what comes to mind when I think of the style icon.

 She was born in Saumur, in the Loire Valley of France, and survived an impoverished childhood. The difficulties of her early life inspired her to pursue a radically different lifestyle, first on the stage, where she acquired the nickname “Coco,” and then as a milliner. (One that makes, trims, and sells hats) Chanel opened up her first shop in Paris in 1913, followed by another in the resort town of Deauville. Selling hats and a limited line of garments, Chanel’s shops developed a dedicated clientele who quickly made her practical sportswear a great success. Chanel used a lot of jersey fabric, due to the low cost and her budget at the time, which surprisingly gave her shops the best boost. Women were finally able to leave their corsets behind and dress more comfortably. Chanel took great pride as a woman in designing for other women, and by 1919 she enjoyed huge success, with clients around the world. Soon after, she relocated her couture house in Paris to 31 Rue Cambon, which remains the center of operations for the House of Chanel today. (Which I will visit ONE day)

Following Chanel’s death in 1971, several of her assistants designed the couture and ready-to-wear lines until Karl Lagerfeld took over the haute couture design in 1983 and ready-to-wear in 1984. Lagerfeld, like Chanel at the time of her comeback, looked to past designs for the secret to his success. His designs incorporated signature Chanel details, tweed fabrics, colors, gold chains, quilt-stitched leather, and the linked “CC” logo.

 

Elegance is not the prerogative of those who have just escaped from adolescence, but of those who have already taken possession of their future.
– Coco Chanel
Fashion fades, only style remains the same.
– Coco Chanel
In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.
– Coco Chanel
(via Krick, Jessa. “Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel (1883–1971) and the House of Chanel”. In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/chnl/hd_chnl.htm (October 2004)
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