Coco Chanel Designs
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Coco Chanel designs – how her style was born
Her talent grew strong from setting the style contradicting the fashions. At her time the fashion dictated that society women wore massive dresses with several layers of lacing, with a stiff corset underneath. Hats were a must,
and they were less a fashion than a social privilege. Wearing hats was a burden, because of their heaviness and monumental style. "How could a brain function normally under all that?" wondered Chanel.
Chanel did not belong to the high society, and she did not accept the society attributes. "I forgot about lace, for I knew nothing rich would become me. I had only my kid-skin coat and my poor little suits.
Capel said to me: "Since it means so much to you, I will have an English tailor remake an elegant what you wear all the time." This is how her famous Chanel style was born.
Dresses she made for herself worn without a corset looked almost fluid compared to the heavy fashions of her time. She carried herself impeccably straight, as if meaning to be a living proof of the idea that being fit counted for most.
In her early years she often borrowed clothes of her lovers: white shirts, ties, coats. Later she made it one of the fundamental principles of her art: adapting the elements of male attire for feminine use.
Coco Chanel designs – from milliner to professional dress designer
"Chanel built her wardrobe in response to her
needs, just the way Robinson Crusoe built
Her first clients were famous horse women, who were admired and frequently photographed for the fashion magazines. They revealed the name of unknown Gabrielle Chanel to Paris.
In the beginning it was not yet known that Chanel could make dresses. She became popular for her creating her little boater (a trim little hat suited to the open air circumstances).
The boater was created by Chanel in 1910, and stayed in the height of fashion for half a century. Slowly the word began to circulate, and the society ladies came one by one to Coco for help with their wardrobes.
In 1913 women had neither fashions nor clothing for sports. Coco Chanel designs were an invention of a whole new style for outdoor living.
Her boutique in Deauville, France, offered hats, shortly followed by jackets, jumpers and the "sailor blouse". That became the wartime garment of all well-dressed ladies.
The role of a woman in society was changing. And her outfits became the dress of the day.
"A world was dying, while another was being born. I was there, and opportunity came forward, and I took it." (Coco Chanel)
In 1915 Chanel opened another boutique in Biarritz. In the wartime France Biarritz was the place for those who profited and enjoyed le luxe.
Located close to the Spanish border, this resort was made famous by royals from all over Europe. This enterprise made her successful beyond all expectations.
By 1916, the combined staff of her fashion houses in Paris, Deauville and Biarritz totalled 300.
Success agrees with women, and it made Chanel more and more beautiful with her every further step in her life and her career…
In 1916 she adopted another innovation: jersey, the material usually associated with men’s undergarments.
Her three-quarter-length overcoat made of jersey, free from ornament and loosely fitting, was an instant success.
In 1917 she adopted bobbed hair as an inseparable part of her style.
Chanel was a woman of infinite daring. She stated: "I set the fashion for a quarter of a century. Why? Because I knew how to express my own time."
She changed completely the traditional role of couturier. Before her, the clients used to require the exclusivity of fabrics and designs, made especially for their needs.
Chanel changed it and by doing it, changed the look of the street.
"Fashion is not simply a matter of clothes;
fashion is in the air, born upon the wind;
one intuits it… it comes from ideas,
Coco Chanel Designs – her Russian period
Chanel met Grand Duke Dimitri of Russia at Biarritz in 1920. They became inseparable for a year and remained good friends thereafter. Coco was fascinated with Dimitri’s sense of luxury, which she adopted for her designs.
Her tunic and skirt combination embroidered with chain stitching was typical for her Russian period. Her embroidered dresses became so popular that Chanel created a workshop dedicated to embroidery.
The director was Grand Duchess Marie, Dimitri’s sister.
When Chanel had a show of furs, her models were Russian ladies, who wore furs with such ease that the garments looked like everyday clothes…
In 1923 Chanel adopted the Russian peasant blouse – the long, belted rubachka traditionally worn by Russian peasants. Coco made it a uniform of the chic Parisians.
Creation of Chanel Number 5
The launch of Chanel Number 5 was one of the greatest events in the career of Chanel, since it became the key source of her fortune.
Click here to read the story of Coco Chanel Perfume.
Chanel Little Black Dress – "a Ford signed ’Chanel’"
This was how the American edition of Vogue called Coco Chanel’s simple dress in crepe de chine, with closely fitting sleeves. This Coco Chanel dress became a sort of uniform for all women of taste all over the world…
Click here to read more about Coco Chanel dress
Coco Chanel Designs – English period of Chanel
Coco Chanel met the Duke of Westminster in Monte Carlo in 1925. In the period from 1926 to 1931, during her romantic involvement with the Duke of Westminster, she adopted English style, taking everything that fascinated her
(English tweeds, beautiful sweaters, the sailors berets) into her collections. Through her friendship with Vera Bate and the Duke of Westminster, Chanel was introduced to the Prince of Wales and Winston Churchill.
Coco Chanel Designs – Chanel Work for Hollywood
In 1929 Chanel was introduced to Sam Goldwyn, the king of Hollywood. Faced with unprecedented crisis in the United States, Goldwyn wanted to give women another reason to go to the movies, which was to see the latest fashion.
The contract he drew up with Chanel, provided that she had to made two trips a year to Hollywood. It was guaranteed with
USD1 million. Chanel agreed to go to California.
She designed the costumes for three Hollywood films: "Palmy Days" (1931), "Tonight or Never" (1931) and "The Greeks Had a Word For It" (1932).
Despite the excellent reception of these films, Coco left Hollywood and never returned. She found it difficult being subordinate to the stars. Also her costumes were criticised in Hollywood for being not sensational enough,
which was the reason that some actresses refused to wear them.
Coco Chanel Designs – Chanel as a pioneer of women liberation
Chanel put women into slacks, which was possible due to the liberalization of morals and the opportunities of sports available to women. Wearing slacks in 1929 was a freedom that only truly rich women could afford.
But the taboo was broken, and eventually the Coco Chanel fashion went down to the streets to become the preference of thousands of women.
For all the success she knew in fashion and business, Chanel led a life that was her greatest creation. Coco Chanel designs had broken the barriers set by the high society,
making her a pioneer of women’s liberation, even before this distinction was formulated.
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Read more about Coco Chanel history, Coco Chanel fashion and Coco Chanel perfume in
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And more about Chanel Number 5
Coco Chanel Dress
Coco Chanel jewelry
Coco Chanel handbags
Quotes by Coco Chanel
Coco Chanel Biography in Business
Vintage Chanel dress
Vintage clothing patterns
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