“Fashion is made to become unfashionable.” – Coco Chanel
What can possibly be said about Coco Chanel that has not already been said? Arguably the most iconic and successful fashion designer of all time, Chanel did for women’s fashion what few others were able to achieve – she made it wearable. Coming off of the early 20th century, when women were still expected to wear corsets and full skirts on every occasion, Chanel pulled inspiration from men’s clothing and casual “sportswear” to create something revolutionary.
While some may have taken this kind of rebellious silhouette and coalesce it into a bohemian jumble, Chanel incorporated pearls, jewelry, stripes, and perfume into the mix so as to never let the masculine aesthetics of the collection overwhelm the feminine ones. Her designs were so popular that she was able to pay back her investors within a year of opening her Deauville boutique.
By the 1920′s, Coco developed her couture houses across Paris to mesmerizing success that lasted until 1939, when she closed her shops due to WWII. The Coco Chanel brand was not re-established until the 1950′s (albeit, shakily) but the house continued successfully until Coco’s death in 1971. Between the ‘little black dress‘ and Chanel No. 5, it is safe to say that everything Coco touched turned to fashion gold, so the question of her replacement was a difficult one. The answer came in the equally detail-oriented and forward-thinking Karl Lagerfeld who is still running the house, oh-so-beautifully, today.