Chanel’s Influence on Fashion
Coco Chanel was one of the most influential fashion designers of the Twentieth Century and she was the first significant female fashion designer. The fashion world was impacted by Chanel’s phoenix like return to fashion after her retirement in 1953. Chanel introduced men and women to practical yet elegant styles. Although Chanel has been deceased for forty-one years her undeniable influence on fashion and women’s roles in society will be remembered for generations to come. Coco Chanel was an iconic designer and continues to inspire men and women around the world.
Like many successful designers Coco had humble beginnings as a hat designer in 1910. Her unique hat styles made her noteworthy in the Parisian millinery market. Coco Chanel opened her first millinery boutique in 1912 Paris. Her fashions were so in demand that she had three boutiques by 1915. Her focus in fashion was on the relatively new area of women’s sportswear. On both sides of the Atlantic, Chanel was making fashion news. Chanel was becoming the leading example of the new woman (Wallach 28). Due to World War I, Chanel’s designs were very simple and elegant so the working wartime woman could obtain and utilize her popular fashions. The fashion world was recognizing Chanel for her luxurious yet practical designs which were unique in the fashion market.
Chanel’s clothes expressed freedom in every piece. She empowered women through fashion. As Chanel said “There are people who have money and people who are rich” expressed how she lived her life. (Dunn). Chanel did not allow her rich and royal clients to treat her with disrespect. Chanel believed she was the best and she required her clients to honor her wishes. In 1920 the silhouette of her clothing designs had come to be the epitome of
style for women. Chanel’s clothes were made for comfort and ease in wear, making them revolutionary and quite modern. The comfortable but exquisite clothing liberated women.
Chanel revolutionized the perfume and jewelry industry. Chanel created Chanel Number Five in 1924. By 1925 Chanel perfume was also being distributed on a worldwide scale. Chanel’s perfumes bring a significant percent of a profit for the company, more than its sales in other in other areas combined. Today Chanel Number Five sells a bottle every day thirty seconds. Costume jewelry was another item that became popular due to Chanel’s influence in the early 1920’s. She was the first designer to gain the social acceptability of wearing fake jewels. She said, “Costume jewelry is not made to give women an aura of wealth but to make them beautiful” (Picardie 76). Her jewelry and perfume lines are still best sellers in the jewelry and perfume market.
The Great Depression and World War II affected Chanel’s success as most...