Not many fashion items have lived through so many decades as the Chanel suit. In the 1920’s Coco Chanel allowed women to take a breath: She ditched the corsets and ankle-length skirts and replaced them with unstructured jackets and body hugging, knee-length skirts. Today the Chanel suit still radiates the same refinement en sophistication as it did almost a hundred years ago.
The Chanel suit is born
In 1923 Coco Chanel invited a small group of journalists to her salon to show her new collection. One of the items of this collection was the Chanel suit. However, the journalists were far from impressed by the suit. The tweed twinset barely got a mention in reviews.
Inspired by love
The style of the suit was obviously inspired by menswear, a source Coco Chanel very often drew inspiration from . The famous tweed fabric used for the Chanel suit, 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. After a while she 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. Coco would bring in color examples she found in the Scottish countryside, a leaf or some dirt.
The defining characteristic of the typical Chanel suit is ofcourse the tweed fabric. The fabric gained worldwide stardom when actress Ina Claire wore a brown Chanel jacket on the cover of a big magazine. Soon, every Paris fashion house was in love with the material. In the thirties, Gabrielle Chanel combined tweed with wool, silk, cotton and even cellophane. The result was a lightweight material that felt more high fashion, than the robust and classic tweed. If we flash forward to our current day and age, there's still a unsationable fascination and love for the Chanel tweed suit. Every important fashion magazine has featured the suit on their cover in the past decades, and all over the world the suit is still worn by celebrities, bloggers and fashion lovers. Want to know more about the tweed fabric from Chanel?
Since Karl Lagerfeld took over the Chanel house in 1983, the Chanel suit has undergone some nips and tucks. Lagerfeld has made little and big adjustments to the suit every season. Every adjustment he makes follows the current trends: denim in the 90’s, mini skirts in the 00’s and 3D printing in the ’10’s. We can’t wait to see what he has in store for us next!