Coco Chanel’s legendary vision forever redefined how women dress. And though her name is often used synonymously with femininity, many of her genius designs were actually sparked by menswear. Here’s a peek at some of Mademoiselle Chanel’s most memorable borrowed-from-the-boys looks.
Styling with Jersey
Knowing it was inexpensive and figure-flattering, Coco purchased a surplus of jersey to use in her first collection. Until then, the fabric had only been used for men’s underwear – très scandalous!
Creating the Jacket
We can thank the staff at the Baron Pantz hotel in Austria for the classic Chanel jacket. Why? The elevator operator’s uniform jacket, with four pockets and braided trim, was the inspiration behind the now-famous 1954 design.
In the 1920s, Coco took up with the Duke of Westminster, one of the richest men in Britain. After raiding his closet, she was motivated to experiment with tweed, which turned into one of her signatures.
Inventing the Chain-Strap Bag
In 1929, tired of constantly holding her clutch, the on-the-go designer took note of the straps soldiers used to carry their bags. She then added thin metal chains to her own handbag and – voilà! – the first Chanel purse was born.
Our Style Icon: Classic Looks Inspired by Coco Chanel Boutique opened Wednesday, August 19, at 11 AM ET.
By Elizabeth Burns, Assistant Fashion Editor
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