Chanel is the alma-mater of fashion in the way we know it today. Its story had started in 1909 by Gabriele (Coco) Chanel when she opened a small shop in Paris in 1910 where she sold her hats. As it was also a flat of businessman Étienne Balsan with the salon for the French hunting and sporting élite, Coco then made her own collection of sportswear. There were jersey sweaters, and women in trousers – all of which was launched despite twentieth-century culture views.
Chanel was trendsetting before there were trends. In 1917 Harper’s Bazaar magazine stated that blazers, infamous little black dresses and coats of the House of Chanel were “on the list of every buyer” for the clothing factories of Europe. Later, to the world was introduced Chanel No. 5, with Coco saying “A woman who doesn’t wear perfume has no future”, which had become the legend of all times.
After the Second World War and away-from-Paris period Chanel rose again with well known chain-link belt and leather bags. In 1971 Coco passed away but the brand continued to develop luxury ready-to-wear women collections. Karl Lagerfeld, who joined company in 1983, added a bit of edgy glamour and sexiness to the Chanel brand. Now this influence lives in every category – couture, ready-to-wear, accessories, jewelry, shoes, and fragrances.
Wanting to take all the luxury segment the House of Chanel launched its first skin care line with signature No. 5 fragrance in 1999, including men’s Allure line. That same year, Chanel introduced a line of sunglasses and eyeglass frames which would later become a sign of stylish self-made woman like Anna Wintour. In 2001 Chanel launched first unisex watch line J12, collaborated with Bell & Ross.What had started as a small shop with clothes that would allow women to feel comfortable while looking dignified, become classic, tailored style, especially in ready-to-wear, where the traditional tweed Chanel suit with a nipped-at-the-waist cardigan jacket remains one of the most popular – and most copied – fashion staples.
AUTHOR || Apollinaria MOST
Cover attribution: Haute Couture News [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]