Chanel is a French fashion designer known for her timeless works, including
little black dresses and suits. As one of the most influential and admired
fashion designers ever, Coco Chanel changed women’s fashion and capitalized on
her iconic status and the changing times she was living in (Dunne, 2013). Due
to her influential posture, adherence to simplicity, and revolutionary ideas,
Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel has changed the course of the fashion industry and influenced several subsequent industries.
Chanel was born in Saumur, France and was raised in an orphanage. When Gabrielle was 11 years old, her mother died
and she and her three sisters were put in a convent orphanage (Feitelberg,
2016). Before establishing her first shop in 1910, she had a singer career
(Biography.com, 2017). During that time, she was performing in clubs in Moulins
and Vichy, where she obtained her nickname. At the age of 20, she met Etienne
Balsan, who helped her to open her first shop in Paris (Biography.com, 2017). The
shop was opened in 1910 where Chanel started selling hats. Later, she opened
stores in Biarritz and Deauville and started designing clothes. In the 1920s,
Chanel launched her legendary perfume, Chanel No. 5 (Biography.com, 2017). Over
the years, this perfume became a hallmark of the brand, along with Chanel’s
dresses and suits.
Coco Chanel shocked the fashion industry by liberating women from the
constraints of hoop skirts and corsets in the 1910s (WGSN, 2012). Even though
during WWI women often wore trousers while working in male jobs, they were not
widely accepted as a part of the women’s wardrobe. Her decision to wear
sailor’s pants at the Deauville beach affected the fashion industry and attracted
a huge number of followers (Dunne, 2013). Thus, Chanel changed the fashion
industry by making trousers an acceptable part of women’s clothes.
the beginning of the 20th century, pale skin was trendy, since the tanned skin was associated with the
underclass. Chanel turned suntan into a
fashion accessory, once she got sunburned during the cruise in 1923 (Dunne,
2013). After her return to Paris, Chanel’s dark glow was greatly admired by
peers and followers. The tan became a long-lasting sign of beauty and wealth. Therefore,
Chanel influenced not only the fashion industry
but also numerous industries, including cosmetology and fragrances.
jersey was a part of men’s underwear for a long time, Chanel was the first
fashion designer who used it for women. Practical, simple and comfortable, this
fabric was the complete antipode of the excessive and flashy women’s clothing.
Moreover, considering that the war resulted in a shortened supply of expensive
fabric (Dunne, 2013). Therefore, Chanel’s innovative approach changed the
textile industry by increasing the demands on the jersey.
No. 5, launched in 1921, has become the first scent with the deliberately artificial smell. Unlike, other
perfumes of that days, Chanel No. 5 was completely composed of unnatural
ingredients. This legendary perfume spread the brand of Chanel to the new
market. Nowadays, most major fashion brands have introduced their own scents, and the profits generated by perfumes
often exceed those of clothes (Dunne, 2013). Thus, Chanel No. 5 was a
revolutionary scent in many ways which transformed the fashion industry and
opened the new market to fashion brands.
In sum, due to Chanel’s revolutionary ideas, adherence to simplicity and
influential posture, she has changed the course of the fashion industry and influenced several subsequent industries,
including cosmetology, fragrances, and
textile industry. Moreover, she has changed the public perception of women’s
clothes. Along with black dresses and suits, her innovations include the use of
trousers and jersey for women, the suntan, and
Biography.com (2017). Coco Chanel. Retrieved from: https://www.biography.com/people/coco-chanel-9244165.
Dunne, E. (2013). Seven Wonders: How Coco Chanel
Changed the Course of Women’s Fashion. Wonderland
Magazine. Retrieved from: https://www.wonderlandmagazine.com/2013/09/04/seven-wonders-how-coco-chanel-changed-the-course-of-womens-fashion/.
Feitelberg, R. (2016). ‘Coco Chanel,’ a New
Illustrated Biography, Details the Highs and Lows of the Designer’s Life. WWD. Retrieved from: http://wwd.com/business-news/media/coco-chanel-illustrated-biography-details-designers-life-10510631/.
WGSN (2012). Pajamas. WGSN. 12 March 2012.