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1920s Fashion Icon: Coco Chanel

Hollie Wilson introduces her ultimate 1920s sartorial icon

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Coco Chanel, also known as Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, can undoubtedly be described as the Fashion Queen of the 1920s. The French designer somehow managed to change fashion becoming one of the first designers to create ‘looser’ clothing for women. One of the main looks of the 1920s was notably ‘flapper fashion’ which espoused an androgynous appearance.

Coco contributed to this craze by taking inspiration from men’s clothing such as sailor suits, turning them into something chic and sophisticated. She used masculine materials such as jersey and ignored the structure of the 1920s corset to create pieces with boyish charm. Her signature row of pearls helped to maintain the elegant look the women of the 1920s desired. This style inspired the people of America, as audiences watched her costume designs in action in theatre and Hollywood films. Some of Chanel’s more famous pieces include her little black dress and the quilted handbags which can still be still be found on sale today.

Chanel was a busy woman during the 1920s, not only focusing on her fashion range but also introducing her floral smelling ‘Chanel No.5’ perfume in 1922, which is just as popular ninety years later. Coco passed away in 1971 at the age of 87, leaving Karl Lagerfeld to take over as chief designer of Chanel in 1983. However, he still uses her traditional pieces adding a modern twist proving that her fashion and legacy still remains.