Happy birthday today, August 19, to Coco Chanel. Still a fashion icon 130+ years after her birth and 45 years after her death.
If you open up your closet right now, there’s probably at least one item in there that pays tribute to Coco Chanel’s classic vision. -biography.com
A short list of things that are a part of our fashion world now, introduced and/or popularized by Coco Chanel:
Knit jersey material as suitable for womenswear. “I make fashion women can live in, breathe in, feel comfortable in and look younger in,” Chanel said.
Menswear “borrowed from the boys”, from polo shirts to pullovers to trousers. Include boater hats and pea jackets too.
The Chanel cardigan jacket, with its stunningly original tweed, braid, and simplicity.
The Little Black Dress. “While Chanel might not have invented the little black dress, she certainly did popularize it. In the early 1920’s, black was a color strictly reserved for mourning, considered indecent if worn anytime else. But …in a 1926 edition of American Vogue that Chanel published a sketch of a simple, short all-black dress. Vogue deemed it “Chanel’s Ford” because, like the car company’s Model T, this little black dress was effortless and women spanning any social class could easily wear one, and look good in it.” — therichest.com
The Chanel bag, of course… but did you know that until its first iteration in the 1920s, there were no shoulder bags? Every bag was, literally, a hand bag?
Chanel No.5, possibly the first designer scent. Marilyn Monroe, when asked by LIFE magazine what she wore to bed, famously replied, “Just a few drops of Chanel No. 5.” It’s claimed that Chanel No. 5 is the best-selling fragrance in the world.
Costume jewelry as an accepted and even coveted accessory… think ropes of pearls!
Slews of fashion quotes... and quotes on other subjects as well. My favorite? “The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”
And, alas, sun tans.
Many of these were designed in the 1950’s, when Chanel was in her 70s.
She refused to follow trends, preferring classic, elegant styles. And THAT is the best thing Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, AKA Coco, ever did.
Need a social media hook today about Coco’s birthday? See this blog post.
My favorite Chanel history video, by Karl Langerfeld. This is a true birthday treat; don’t miss it!
Want more? A brief video biography of Coco. Inside Chanel’s apartment. Visit the Chanel website.
The photograph is from here, posted without credit.