The influence of Chanel on the fashion world is undisputable. Coco Chanel, the founder of the famous Chanel house, completely changed women's fashion and allowed women to move freely. With the invention of the yachting trousers women were liberated from their corsets, while the famous 2.55 bag allowed ladies to have their hands free. Rebellious as she was, Gabrielle was not afraid to push bounderies. We've listed the 10 most exquisite Chanel designs from the last century.
1. The Boy Bag
Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel's was very tomboy-ish and she was inspired by menswear. Her biggest muzes were her beau's and the love of her life: Boy Capel. After all these years, it was Karl Lagerfeld who paid a tribute to the men in her life, with the birth of the Chanel Boy bag. The Chanel Boy bag is one of Chanel’s most sought-after bags and it has become one of the classics of the label. The characteristic details are the heavy hardware, bold shape and unique lock.
2. 2.55 Quilted Bag
In February 1955 the iconic 2.55 bag was born. Her clientele was initially quite skeptical about this new rebellious design, but it quickly became a fashion sensation. Gabrielle Chanel added straps to the bag to free the hands of high society ladies. These women would usually hold a clutch, which was both unpractical and tiring. As you can imagine, carrying a bag can be a difficult task while joggling Champagne flütes, theatre flyers and hors-d'oeuvres. To add shoulder strap was a revolutionary idea in the fifties.
3. Chanel Two-tone Shoes
In 1957, Coco Chanel introduced the two-tone slingback shoes, immediatly after its introduction celebrities like Catherine Deneuve, Romy Schneider, and Bridgette Bardot instantly were seen wearing them. At the time the Chanel two-tone slingback shoes were introduced, women mainly wore shoes that matched with the color of their outift. The shoes being two-tone is what made them so very revolutionary. The nude color is intented to lengthen the leg while the black capped toe shortens the feet and isn't easly stained as it's a darker color.
4. The Breton Top
After a trip to the French coast Coco Chanel was so inspired by the sailors’ uniform that she incorporated the stripes into her 1917 collection. Since then the Breton top has become one of the most stylish items in the world, worn and adored by many of the biggest fashion icons in history such as Brigitte Bardot, Edie Sedgwick, Audrey Hepburn, Jane Birkin and Alexa Chung. With her love for sailor tops she forever changed the face of casual womenswear.
5. The Little Black Dress
Before the 1920’s, women used to wear black while mourning. It was considered distasteful to wear it on any other occassion. But this changed at the will of the one and only Coco Chanel. The defining moment of the little black dress came in 1926, when Vogue magazine published a sketch of the little black dress. Vogue said the dress was 'a sort of uniform for all women of taste.' From this moment on, the little black dress became very popular.
6. Faux Pearls
Coco Chanel was rarely seen without a heaping pile of pearls around her neck. With her fake pearls and gold she was the one that brought faux jewelry into the mainstream. Coco reasoned that if women could buy jewelry that was more affordable than real gemstones, they could properly accessorize every outfit they had, rather than sticking with a few simple pieces.
7. The Tweed Jacket
One of the fabrics Coco Chanel used for her suits was tweed. The famous tweed fabric used for the Chanel jacket was not only inspired by menswear, but by an actual man. Coco Chanel wore her boyfriend’s (the Duke of Westminster) clothing all the time. She soon realized the comfortable and beautiful fabric would be great for her own designs. In 1924 a Scottish factory started producing the iconic tweed fabric for Chanel. Today the Chanel tweed jacket still radiates the same refinement en sophistication as it did almost a hundred years ago.
8. Yachting Pants
Coco Chanel was born in 1883, a time when high-society French women only were skirts. But the rebellious as she was, Coco Chanel loved wearing trousers herself and often borrowed her boyfriend’s suits. She began designing trousers for women, and soon they became a fashion item in every daring woman’s closet. The ground-breaking design and shape of the Yachting pants still influence the fashion trends of each year and each season.
9. Two-tone Flats
These flats are comfortable yet chic and are as timeless as the classic stiletto. Known for its monochrome colors, little bows and cc-stitching, these beauties have a long history. Coco Chanel wore them herself, as she was quite the avocate for comfortable clothing for women. The Chanel ballerina has been loved for over decades and is coveted by younger and older generations.
10. Chanel No. 5
In 1922, Gabrielle Chanel introduced her first parfume Chanel no. 5. Coco was the first designer that actually named her fragrance after something other than the house name. Chanel's perfumer created 10 different perfumes for Coco Chanel. Gabrielle chose number 5, because this was her lucky number and because the scent was divine. After its launch in 1921, No 5. quickly gained fame and became one of most distinct fragrances in the world. The scent was famously worn by Marilyn Monroe, who claimed she only wore No. 5 at night. In 2016 it is still the best-selling fragrance in the world.