We all know about Chanel N 5 that first came out five years ago. That was the first abstract, meaning unidentifiable, scent. She is quoted as saying she immediately knew it would be timeless because a “number needs no translation”. And now she has brought us a revolution in dress design.
The latest buzz is Coco Chanel’s drawing of the Little Black Dress published in the latest October issue of Vogue (see photos below). It is a simple yet elegant sheath, in black crêpe de Chine, with long, narrow sleeves. It is accented with four diagonal stripes and worn with a string of white pearls. Vogue predicts this is “the frock that all the world will wear”.
Since the Victorian times black was strictly reserved for times of mourning, but Chanel says it is the definition of simple elegance. I personally cannot imagine wearing black to a dinner party, but the gown’s design is simply spectacular. Vogue describes the dress as “Chanel’s Ford”, after the Model T because, like the car, this dress is accessible to women of all social classes. They may be right! From what I can tell, the dress is highly versatile due to its simple design and flatters women of all shapes and sizes. This dress has the potential to be timeless.
Her rival couturier Paul Poiret is reported to have asked Chanel, “What are you in mourning for, Mademoiselle?” in the street. To this, she replied “For you, dear Monsieur.” She is in fact correct—Poiret’s designs are a thing of the past compared to this masterpiece.
And while we are on the subject of Chanel, I would like to take a minute to discuss her use of jewelry, which I think is revolutionary. Coco Chanel wears costume jewelry, that is clearly fake, as a statement. With this she is not trying to exhibit her wealth, but rather decorate herself and her outfit. She created a line of jewelry with paste stones and fake pearls in a range of unnatural colors and sizes. She has further broken from the tradition by wearing jewelry considered to be for the evening during the day. She wears ropes of fake pearls or distinctive color-stone necklaces or brooches, often inspired by Renaissance and Byzantine jewels in broad daylight. To make it even more impactful she doesn’t wear jewelry at all in the evening.
Chanel is an inspiration to me and I hope to be as bold and daring as her in my fashion.
Foreman, Katya. “The Little Black Dress: Never out of Style.” BBC Culture. British Broadcasting Corporation, 21 Oct. 2014. Web. 6 Dec. 2016.
“Learn about the Original Little Black Dress.” Little Black Dress. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Dec. 2016. <http://www.littleblackdress.co.uk/life-of-chanel/the-little-black-dress.html>.