Style Icon: Coco Chanel

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“Fashion fades, only style remains the same.”

Those are the famous words of world renowned fashion designer, creator, innovator and inspiration CoCo Chanel.  This article serves to enlighten you of the incredible legend that is Miss Coco Chanel. She is a true style icon.

STARTED FROM THE BOTTOM

CoCo Chanel began designing hats and became a licensed milliner in the year 1910. She opened her own hats boutique inside of an already established department store, rue Cambon, selling quality hats to the public. Although this was enough to bring in a decent income, she did not truly begin her uphill climb to industry success until one of her hats were featured on stage in Bel Ami on the head of Gabrielle Dorziat. After which, such publicity allowed her to become the go to costume designer for future local productions!

In 1913, she opened a boutique in Deauville where she featured casual wear that was made for leisure activities. She then proceeded to open two more boutiques after such!

From here, she was able to propel herself to stardom by later acquiring one of the largest shopping centers in the Paris Fashion District, rue Cambon, and dominating the entire industry! She sold countless statement pieces and to this day, her heirs to her multibillion dollar empire are still driving her legacy to the stratosphere! Her brand is currently worth an estimated $19 billion dollars!

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THE REINVENTION OF THE JERSEY FABRIC

One of Coco Chanel's most well known accomplishments is her reinvention of the jersey fabric.This was the turning point of her career when she introduced the use of jersey fabric, which was used for underwear up until that point, as a potential material for garments and attire! This caused some controversy, yet it did not cause her career to back slide. Instead, it pushed her forward! These daring designs are what made her uncommon, unique and attractive. Her ingenious thought to use such material for dresses and suits was the start of a new movement.

By the material being light and airy, it allowed dresses and suits to have more flare and body. This was something brand new compared to the tucked and tightened trend of corsets and pencil cut garments! To this day, the use of jersey fabric to construct movable clothing and outerwear is prevalent in the fashion world.

THE CLASSIC COCO CHANEL SUIT

As a very powerful and successful business woman herself, Coco Chanel very much felt the need to influence women to have their own. She was very supportive of the idea of women having careers and ideas and influence over society. Thus, the Chanel suit was born. This classic template design that later modeled all of her following collections was the piece that many women needed to make them feel fashionable yet comfortable when visiting their place of employment!

The Chanel suit was strategically designed to be stylish yet practical for a long day at the office! It consisted of a blazer jacket with a matching skirt in a tweed textured material. The jackets were cut very square and hung parallel to the waistline. The skirts were often fitted to the hips with a slight flair towards mid-thigh with a knee length hem line. There was also a blouse that often times was made of a lightweight cotton to go underneath the blazer .

As for the lining of the jacket, this was many times either jersey material or that of a silk crepe. This often times depended on the level of casualty for the garment. She chose not to stiffen the material or use shoulder pads. This allowed for a sturdy yet flexible fit. The incorporation of usable pockets was also very notable and important. This small detail allowed women to actually be able to carry things in their garments. Before this, faux pockets were simply added to women's wear for show or for aesthetic. CoCo Chanel made sure in hr designs that working women were able to bring with them the necessary supplies to get the job completed correctly and efficiently.

When testing out these designed suits, she did not simply have the model do a quick 360 turn and pass it on to the retailers. She conducted thorough and extensive trials to ensure positive capability and long shelf lives for her designs. She used mannequins and models to test every single Coco Chanel suit! They had to pass various tests such as walking a distance to simulate the amount of walking that a woman might have to do around the work place. They had to test the suit while hopping on various heights of platforms to simulate a woman getting on to a bus after work. They even had to bend over in multiple fashions to simulate a woman picking up something at work or sliding into the driver's seat of her luxury sports car coupe. All of these things had to be done effectively so that those who purchased her suits could maneuver freely as they pleased without the anxiety of something ripping or popping, exposing unwanted body parts to the eyes of male onlookers.

No doubt this had a wonderful impact on female empowerment and motivated many women to take up careers, even starting their own businesses as well! They were able to be self sufficient and well dressed at the same time. Just think of that the next time you purchase a suit. It is very likely that the suit you purchased took at least some note from the classic Coco Chanel suit!

THE CLASSIC COCO CHANEL BAG

The classic Coco Chanel bag is still a lovely luxury item to have in this day and age. However, in these times there are countless replicas and designer inspired versions of the classic catch! Yet, no matter how close the replica might be there is nothing like a true CoCo Chanel hand bag. This was originally designed with the embellished shoulder strap to be practical for busy women so that they ought have their hands free while carrying their belongings. With varying sizes, she also made sure that women had the option of purchasing purses bigger (or smaller) than the standard size so as to carry things such as folders and important documents. Again, this was another valuable instrument that assisted in saturating the opportunities available to women who wanted to work! Created using iconic quilted patterns and chunky, edgy loop chain embellishments, this is still a signature item that is a privilege to own!

The legacy of Miss Coco Chanel is very awe striking. To have the chance of absorbing her entire history of secular advancement is quite fascinating. The fetes listed in this article are merely grazing the surface of her success. For these reasons and many more, Miss CoCo Chanel will forever be canonized as a Fashion Icon.