Why You Should Care About Coco Chanel

“Fashion fades, only style remains the same.” – Coco

1. She changed the face of women’s fashion forever. Ya know how women’s fashion revolved around corsets and pouffy skirts for a thousand years? And then suddenly, in the early 1900’s, modern fashion emerged and women started wearing normal clothes? That’s Chanel.  She pioneered the modern look.  She gave us the little black dress, trousers for women, straight skirts, black toe-capped shoes, quilted leather bags, bathing suits, the striped sailor top, costume jewelry, cardigans, and the classic collarless Chanel suit.  Before her influence, women’s clothing was only sexy in so far as it created an exaggerated hourglass figure, showed off boobs, and combined as many colors, feathers, beads and baubles as a person could possibly cram on to a single dress.  Then Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Chanel, the rebellious French orphan raised by nuns (no joke, seriously), insisted that women’s clothing be simple, elegant, and above all, comfortable.  She showed that this kind of clothing could be even more beautiful because it allows a woman to act more comfortably as herself, and after all, it’s the woman that makes the dress, not the other way around. 

“Some people think luxury is the opposite of poverty. It is not. It is the opposite of vulgarity.” – Coco

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Thanks to Early Pants-Wearers

In most parts of the world, women only started wearing pants within the last 100 years. I really hate wearing dresses so this is my tribute to the women who blazed the trail for me.

Wigan pit brow girls wore skirts over their trousers and rolled them up to their waist to keep them out of the way during their dangerous work in the coal mines. They were quite a scandalous for Victorian society.

Britain’s first female football team caused a stir in the 1880’s when they wore their knickerbockers.

Suffragettes like this one wore a marching costume that included pants underneath a skirt.

Marlene Dietrich often wore tails and pants in the 1920’s, which was unheard of at that time.

Other women may have worn pants, but Katharine Hepburn was the first to make them chic.   Her production studio got so annoyed that they confiscated her trousers in an attempt to force her to wear a skirt.  Kate responded by defiantly strolling around the studio lot in her underwear. Point for Kate.

Ugh.. I almost hate to put her in here because in the few movies I’ve seen her in, her early Manic Pixie Dream Girl thing drove me crazy. But anyways… thanks for popularizing these pants..

Salvador Dali/Elsa Schiaparelli Collaboration…..

I read that Elsa Schiaparelli (an italian clothing designer famous in the 1920s-40s and said to be the great rival of Coco Chanel) had done a couple clothing items in collaboration with Salvador Dali. Naturally, I was really excited to see what two such amazing minds had come up with. I even called my boyfriend over to check them out with me, since he (like every other male) loves Salvador Dali. Some of the pieces even have cool names like “the lobster dress” and “the skeleton dress,” while others have names that seem less promising like “shoe hat.”  So when I looked them up, all I could say was WTF???? Am I missing something…

The Lobster Dress: Wallis Simpson actually wore this dress in a photo shoot. I think feel like this dress should have been named “Lobster Crotch.”

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The Tears Dress: This is Dali-loving boyfriend’s favorite one. Maybe the tears remind him of the existential isolation of something or other?

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The Skeleton Dress: I guess this is my favorite.. but still I’m not so sure. Plus, why does this mannequin have scoliosis?

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Shoe Hat: Welp… I don’t know what else I was expecting.