Gabrielle standing outside her 1st boutique with Adrienne, both dressed in Chanel
Gabrielle Chanel dresses in her own signature style
Chanel day ensemble 1928, The Kyoto Costume Institute
Chanel evening dress 1930, The Kyoto Costume Institute
Chanel day ensemble in wool jersey late 1950s, The Kyoto Costume Institute
Chanel day ensembles in wood tweed 1969, The Kyoto Costume Institute
Coco Chanel was first noticed for her millinery skills and embellished boater hats.
In 1916 she began making clothing with jersey (which was only used for underwear at the time) and innovated the boxy, corsetless signature silhouette of the 1920s.
From the beginning her clothes had the elegant simplicity she came to be known for. Her silhouettes suggested a woman's natural shape rather than exaggerating it.
By 1918 she was making cardigans and twinsets and showing adapted mens sweaters over plain skirts.
In 1920 she debuted wide-leg pants for women.
Coco Chanel continued to introduce countless fashionable innovations throughout the 1920s and 30s:
~ tweed skirts, sweaters and strings of pearls
~ pea jackets and rain coats transformed into fashionable garments
~ Little Black Dress
~ collarless cardigan jacket with braid trim, accessorized with patch pockets and worn with a knee-length tweed skirt
~ simple chemise dress with round, straight or bateau neckline, hung loosely to mid or lower calf and worn with waist or hip length belt
~ over-sized flat black bows, gilt buttons on blazers, sling-back sandals, handbags with gilt chains
~ costume jewelry
~ No. 5 perfume
Coco made her comeback in 1954 and by the mid 1960s her Chanel suit had become a classic symbol of elegance.