The influence of Gabrielle Chanel on the fashion world is undisputable. 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 6 of her most influential designs.
1. The little black dress
Before the 1920’s, women used to only wear black while mourning. It was considered distasteful to wear it on any other occassion. But this all changed at the will of Gabrielle Chanel, with her introductin of this now considered classic piece. The defining moment of the little black dress came in 1926, when Vogue magazine published a sketch of the little black dress. Vogue described the dress as 'a sort of uniform for all women of taste.' From this moment on, the LBD became very popular and has remained women's go to dress every since.
Coco Chanel was born in 1883, a time when high-society French women only wore skirts and dresses. But rebellious as she was, Coco Chanel loved wearing trousers herself and often borrowed her boyfriend’s suits. She began designing trousers for women, and redefined the woman's wardrobe with the introduction of her yachting pants and pantsuits. At first she only wore them herself, but it wasn't long before admirers of her style began wearing them to
3. Sailor tops
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 and versatile clothing items, worn and adored by many of the biggest fashion icons in history such as Brigitte Bardot, Edie Sedgwick, Audrey Hepburn and Jane Birkin. With her love for sailor tops she forever changed the face of casual womenswear.
4. The Chanel suit
In 1923 Coco Chanel invited a small group of journalists to her salon to show her new collection. One of the items she revealed was the Chanel suit. However, the journalists were far from impressed wuth the suit. The tweed twinset barely got a mention in reviews and wasn't featured in any of the major fashion magezines. But after the WWII she reintroduced the Chanel suit as we know it now. This time it was received with enthousiasm and it became one of Chanel's most iconic creations. Who doesn't immediately recognize the famous tweed suit?
5. The Chanel 2.55
The first bag that Coco Chanel designed in 1929 was a hand-carried clutch, just like all other bags that were available to upper-class women during that era. However, it turned out to be an impossible task to combine bags with a flûte champagne, theater leaflets and hors d’oeuvres. In 1995, Coco Chanel changed handbag history with the introduction of the 2.55 which was a modified version of her first designs, altered for practical reasons. "I got fed up with holding my purses in my hands and losing them, so I added a strap and carried them over my shoulder,” as she later explained. The practical 2.55 was a great succes: for the first time, it was acceptable for upper-class women to carry a bag on their shoulders and again this design influenced many other designers.
6. Costume jewelry and faux pearls
Coco Chanel was rarely seen without a heaping pile of pearls around her neck. With her imitation pearls and gold, she was the innovative one that brought faux jewelry into mainstream fashion. 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. More fun for everyone!