This History of Chanel Women's Suits


We take a look back at classic Chanel suits through fashion history. Here's how they've developed and changed the fashion world.

This History of Chanel Women's Suits

French fashion designer, Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel gained notoriety during the twenties. She mixed masculinity and femininity to create something entirely new.

Chanel did this through her use of fabric through her now iconic creation of Chanel tweed. Previously, the material was used in men's sportswear.

The house moved fashion towards less constricting clothing for the twentieth century. Instead of corsetry, there was a focus on tailoring.

They also used masculine colours like navy and grey to exude power. It's no wonder that the Chanel suit came to embody this motif.

Its invention fitted perfectly into a post-war world where women were moving towards the workplace. Plus, the designer herself became a poster girl of the changing times.

World War I saw women join the workforce in place of the absent men. After the war they were then expected to return to typically feminine roles and clothing.

As a result of practicality, the war brough rationing and a lack of access to some luxurious materials. Need is the mother of invention and Chanel's ingenuity hit the mark.

These circumstances have been blamed for Chanel's use of knitted fabrics and jersey. The latter of which was formerly used primarily in men's underwear.

They were a clear departure from the style of the nineteenth century and La Belle Époque which was often led by monarchy. Plus, the 1920s flapper shape made a sharp departure from the cinched-in waists of yesteryear.

Chanel would once again revolt against the focus on the hour-glass and opulence in the fifties. The Chanel suit was born encompassing all the values of the brand.

The Chanel Suit

The boxy jacket, fitted skirt, metallic buttons and braided trim have quickly become a modern classic. Chanel again hit on a moment in time and made something timeless.

The designer did this by offering a contrast to style of the time. By creating something both practical and feminine she offered a much needed alternative.

The Chanel suit continues to be a highlight of Chanel haute couture fashion shows. This is in no small part due to Karl Lagerfeld who, in 1983, took the helm as Chief Designer.

The jacket is what has always led the the Chanel suit and in 2012 it was given its due diligence. The Little Black Jacket campaign demonstrated the broad appeal of the item.

It also cleverly combined two of the best-known Chanel creations. The little black dress and the Chanel suit.

Two practical, versatile and must-have staples of womenswear brought together for a new generation. It, however, remains covetable and aspirational in quality and style.

The exhibition of the same name, The Little Black Jacket, then went on to tour the world. With every woman who wears it, the Chanel jacket fits their individual taste.

The long list of admirers keep the Chanel suit on the front lines of fashion season after season. Alongside, the handmade tweed and luxurious materials used within modern Chanel suits.

Their constant re-creation was seen in abundance during the Chanel Haute Couture Fashion Show SS16. The eco-couture theme saw natural materials including straw and wood woven into the fabric.

The fashion house continues to lead the way in pushing boundaries and iamgination with each year. We can't wait to see what the next Chanel women's suit will be.

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(Main image My Style Daily)