Gabrielle Chanel in 1912 wearing a menswear inspired outfit and boater hat
Gabrielle Chanel in her own design, inspired by Norman fishermen
Adrienne & Antoinette dressed in Chanel at the races
Coco's primary objective was always to show elegance through simplicity and refinement. She designed fashionable- but also functional and comfortable- clothes for real women to live their lives in.
She drew inspiration from many traditional menswear garments (pea jackets, rain coats, sweaters, trousers) She continuously looked to her lover's closet for inspiration and adapted menswear into practical styles for women.
Early on Coco was also inspired by Norman fishermen. She made loose blouses and women's trousers based on the sailors' clothing.
While seeing Grand Duke Dimitri of Russia, she developed a taste for fur lined coats and fabric of almost Byzantine opulence. She discovered British tweeds while seeing the Duke of Westminster.
The world around her was a continuous source of inspiration. "Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street. Fashion has to do with ideas. The way we live, what is happening."- Coco Chanel