Coco Chanel: Winnovating Fashion
Even if you’ve never opened a Vogue or perused an issue of Woman’s Wear Daily, I can guarantee that the clothes you pick out to wear on a daily basis have been influenced by an ultimate winnovator of fashion: Coco Chanel. The little black dress, or five, hanging in your closet wouldn’t be there if Chanel hadn’t turned black from a mourning statement into the ultimate expression of femininity. Seriously, try to imagine Audrey Hepburn on the cover of Breakfast at Tiffany’s wearing anything other than that LBD.
More than a black dress, Chanel took us out of the corset and into an idea that fashion, style and the very idea of luxury should be based in comfort. Though, I highly doubt she’d approve of the lengths I’ve taken that rationale to lately, even if she knew how popular Lululemon was. Despite her feelings that pants would always look better on a man, and thus she never wore them herself, Chanel made them fashionable for women. Less than a century later, a woman’s pantsuit is still great fodder for her critics, and yet there we are in the boardroom, Congress and other powerful positions, wearing the pants so to speak. Merci, Madame Chanel.
Though she was born Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel in 1883 to unwed parents, a fact she shied away from, by the time she died in 1971 her legacy was one of the most recognizable haute couture brands in the world. Chanel learned to sew in the orphanage at the monastery her father left her with at the age of 12. The interlocking Cs of her logo, inspired by the stained glass in the church, has changed little over the course of the brand’s life. Her iconic perfume, Chanel No. 5 is still the world’s top selling scent. While her life held plenty of intrigue – she was friends with Winston Churchill, accused of being a Nazi spy and the ultimate opportunist – her innovations changed the way we as women dress and the shape of our wardrobes.
Interested in more?
- Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life by Justine Picardie
- Coco Chanel: An Intimate Life by Lisa Chaney
- More in the mood for a movie? Try Coco Before Chanel
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