Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel is a creative visionary and iconic fashion designer. Her beauty, her classy flair, and her trademark. Her designs and styles are the heart and soul of Parisian haute couture. Her story is from a humble beginning that creates strength, determination, and having a creative vision that no one can attain. Gabrielle Chanel officially started her company in 1908 in Paris, France. She attracted a following which expanded in her era and beyond. Coco Chanel forever revolutionized fashion for women that can stand the test of time. I believe Chanel is the greatest fashion designer of all time because she reshaped women’s wardrobes, created minimalistic fashion statements that women still wear today, and her strong vision never steered her away from her own style that made her who she is. As Coco Chanel stated, “Fashion is not something that exists in dress only, fashion has to do with ideas the way we live” (Hess, 92). Chanel brand changed the concept of the way women dress in comfortable and versatile yet luxurious ways. She was one of the first to design women’s suit and made black and white into glamorous evening wear and introduced the use of jersey fabric into sportswear to make it luxury. For example, The Chanel tracksuit was created in 1978 for their “ready to wear collection. ” The tracksuit is very convenient yet wearable and extravagant. She believes that “Luxury must be comfortable otherwise it is not luxury” (Hess, 58).
At the same time, in addition to the tracksuit, she designed for multiple occasions such as: running to do errands, going to the airport, or just going point from A to point B. Another functional and versatile design Chanel created was the classic women’s tweed pantsuit. A design that featured a collarless jacket with braided trim, fitted sleeves, metallic buttons and an accompanying skirt. Chanel was a designer who embraced modern ideas and made a drastic shift in the role of the sexes by adding a sensibility of menswear elements, like blazers, trousers and military buttons, instead of a dress and heels. This was the push in the twentieth century that gave postwar women who were seeking a career in a male-dominate workplace confidence. Chanel delivered the garment where you can wear it and style it for numerous formal and work events. Long lasting style of the cute and comfy look impacts the way we dress in different eras in fashion and different influences that fashion designers are using in today’s time, like Juicy Couture, Balenciaga, Tommy Hilfiger, Adidas, and Champion. The things that sets apart Gabrielle Chanel is her natural flair for aesthetics, such as the fabrics she uses, and her simplistic monochrome color palette that made it elegant, original touch, and a timeless vision that will never be replaced. The inspiration, the detail, the vision, the purpose of her garments allowed her to carve out her own style that still makes her brand what it is today that it cannot steer way from. The range of sources from which she drew inspiration were so diverse, including her signature tweed suit, quilted black crossbody bags, and the staple “LBD” which is called the little black dress. Coco Chanel’s design were inspired by her surrounding and the influences in her life.
For instance, the tweed pantsuit was influenced by the men in her life and a symbol for French elegance of the high-life social class. She borrowed elements from menswear that emphasized comfort over the constriction when riding horses because in her daily life she liked sports but did not like that she had feel like she was constricted to do the things like do with her busy lifestyle so she opt for something longer and loser for a more attainable silhouette. The tweed suit is not just complacent for the daily business woman but she wanted to create a society statement as well. As early as 1917, the concept of the coordinated suit was the purpose to be gender fluid by pairing long jackets with adding a calf-length skirt with just an elegant touch. As Coco stated, “I gave women bodies their freedom back, their bodies sweated under their corsets, their underwear and their padding”. Another example, in her world famous 2. 55 vIt also changed the way we mirror society from gender roles based off what we wear. Her purpose of the tweed suit is to feel like a fierce inside and outside the board room. Another example, the world famous little black dress that was worn by many famous celebrities from Audrey Hepburn from the iconic movie, “Breakfast at Tiffany. ” to Kim Kardashian. Her silhouette was encouraged from her uniform of the nuns from her childhood where she went to a Catholic convent school when grew up. Chanel had the vision to turn black into a symbol of independence, freedom and strength of women. She believed “Dress women in black or white at a ball. They will be eye catching. She desired to create something appealing yet discreet and something that was suitable for women of every economy class so Chanel created it.
Finally, as an icon once said, “Fashion fades only style remains the same. ”(Hess, 116). Her influences and her background encouraged her vision to create the designs she does. In conclusion from past to present, Gabrielle Chanel is a force to reckon with from her signature garments, her persistent vision, and something that fits every woman and makes every feel powerful. She made a lasting impression by her breaking the rules by making her own rules and by giving something that every woman has in her closet for fashion eras to come. According to Vogue, “The little black dress is something all the world will wear”. Her designs have been rediscovered and reinvented in today world’s by different established fashion designers and clothing brands like the blazer dress from Balmain and affordable department stores recreating Chanel’s iconic tweed set such as: Forever 21, Misguided, and so much more. Her journey in life and her pioneering her way to being the booming empire at the House of Chanel has gave her a legacy that will give her a lasting fame in today’s world and many fashion’s eras to come.
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