Coco Chanel a fashion icon – perfume, fashion and emancipation

Gabrielle Coco Chanel, grown up as a sad child in an orphanage, died as a legend. Born in 1983 in Saumur/France, she made a name for herself 30 years later in the fashion industry. Her speciality: unusually functional and yet feminine and elegant women’s fashion. Who wanted a corset and wanted to look like everyone else was wrong with Coco Chanel. Light blouses, airy tops, wide cut ladies’ trousers or calf-length skirts made of comfortable fabrics such as English tweed, mottled weed, wool jersey, bouclé or bourette silk.

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Fashion is ephemeral, style never – Coco Chanel

One of Chanel’s most famous creations is the Chanel costume. A waisted costume jacket with a continuous shoulder seam over the sleeves, narrow sleeves that are cut so that the jacket does not slip even when the arms move, and discreet shoulder pads that always guarantee a straight silhouette. Gold-coloured chains and gold-plated lead weights have been sewn into the seams to ensure a perfect fit.

The classic Chanel jacket had four straight-cut pockets at hip height. The jacket is either not closed at all, with a head or a chain at chest or waist height, a usually single-row button placket or a simple zipper. The lining of the jacket is individually matched to the outer fabric or the matching blouse. A pastel-coloured blouse with a silk georgette sling collar was usually worn with a classic Chanel costume.

Coco Chanel’s most important milestones for you:

  • 1909 Start your own hat shop with the name Chanel.
  • 1914 Opening of your boutique in Seebad Biarritz.
  • 1918 Designed the first pajamas for women, since pajamas were originally intended for men only.
  • 1923 international breakthrough with its fragrance “Chanel No.5.”
  • 1926 Chanel designs the little black, she rejects bright colours because she likes simple colours like beige, white and black better.
  • 1930 Chanel equips screen stars from United Artists and Hollywood for a few weeks.
  • 1932 presents her jewellery collection with diamonds in Paris under the name “Bijoux de Diamants”.
  • In 1936, the number of Chanel employees rose to over 4,000.
  • 1939 Chanel discontinues haute couture fashion and temporarily only sells perfumes and accessories.
  • 1954 Chanel, after accusations that she collaborated with the National Socialist.
  • 1954 Opens a store in Paris, where she realizes her “war collection”.
  • 1971 Death of Coco Chanel at the Hotel Ritz.
  • 1971 Gaston Berthelot, a Dior designer, takes your place.
  • 1974 Alain Wertheimer receives the controlling majority of Chanel together with his brother.
  • 1971-1983 Image of the fashion house dusty, is considered “moustimode”.
  • Since 1983 Karl Lagerfeld has been employed as a consultant for haute couture.
  • 1984 Karl Lagerfeld becomes the head designer of the entire fashion department of the company.
  • 1988 Lagerfeld received the International Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America for his Chanel collections.
  • 1990 Claudia Schiffer is hired by Lagerfeld.
  • 1996 Schiffer and Lagerfeld go separate ways.
  • 2000 Schiffer and Lagerfeld are working together again, and more international stars like Vanessa Paradis, Nicole Kidman Audrey Tautou, Keira Knightley or Blake Lively have been used as testimonials for Chanel.
  • Since 1983 until today Chanel has again been considered a “high fashion brand” and has found its old glory thanks to Lagerfeld.

The Chanel Logo: Simplicity in the Integrity of Design

Chanel himself designed the logo in 1925. The two “Cs”, pushed into each other, stand for the first letters of the name of the founder and surname. The Chanel logo is as effective as it is long-lasting thanks to the simplicity in the integrity of design.

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Coco Chanel as pioneer of emancipation

A tightening corset just because it’s socially acceptable? Not with Coco. Thanks to Coco Chanel’s fashion, women were no longer the decorative object and wealth card of their husbands, but on the right path to independence.  She demonstrated to the women that a woman can be independent in every respect – if she is willing to pay the price for it. No matter what others said, Chanel has always defended her fashion and view of things, which was absolutely scandalous at the time, but it paid off with a revolution in the apparel industry.

Especially in the present time, in which feminism is a big topic, Coco is remembered, who stands with her fashion until today for the emancipation of women.

In September 2014, Lagerfeld reminds us of Coco’s legacy – by having his models storm across a rebuilt street in the Grand Palais in Paris at the end of the Chanel show as an attractive horde of young women, protesting for women’s rights. The audience became very sentimental and many felt reminded of their youth, the younger ones enjoyed the revival and the cheeky sayings.

Karl Lagerfeld is committed to feminism.

Is Karl Lagerfeld a worthy successor?

The sales figures speak for themselves! Since Lagerfeld became chief designer, sales figures have skyrocketed. But Lagerfeld is of the opinion that Coco hated his designs. Lagerfeld had complete freedom to decide what he would do with the brand “If you can do something, that’s okay, if not, I’ll sell the store,” the owner told Lagerfeld. Despite the conviction that fashion goddess Coco Chanel would not be satisfied with his work, the world thinks differently. Lagerfeld has brought Coco’s convictions and values to the present day or modernised them. He varies colours, silhouettes, jacket and skirt lengths, uses new fabrics and accessories, replaced the classic braids with fringes and presented the Chanel costume in both the Haute-Couture and Prêt-à-Porter collections.

It’s time to be beautiful when the world gets too ugly

Lagerfeld decides to add a statement with the spring/summer collection 2018. His designs show the will to turn to beauty instead of despairing of all the ugliness in the world. The sometimes soft and sometimes bright colours illustrate the lightness of the collection. An interplay of transparent silk tulle and a heavily embroidered, textured tweed then pushes it to the top.

However, Lagerfeld not only designs “pretty things” with his collection, he also thinks up new forms. Skirt parts on the dress, which suddenly only start from the middle of the thigh, frills only on the sides. The ruffles are broken through in the middle by a glittering triangle or midi dresses are covered with a transparent veil. In the collection, Lagerfeld Chanel re-designs without losing the old, which is once again met with great enthusiasm.

Coco Chanel changed the fashion world forever, her legacy was inherited from Lagerfeld and is still being treated today. And once again Lagerfeld has proved with his new cut and colour combinations that he is a worthy successor by refusing to bow to ugliness. And as Coco Chanel liked to say, “elegance is refusal”.

Fashion Show 2018 – Spring Summer Looks by Chanel

Fashion Show 2018 – Autumn/Winter Collection by Chanel

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