5 Ways Coco Chanel Changed Fashion

1. Little Black Dress

The innovative dress was a radical update for the modern women, revolutionary for both its striking silhouette and dark tone; since the Victorian times black had been associated with mourning. However, for Coco, black was the epitome of simple elegance and always one to subvert tradition, she was the key proponent in making black a colour that could be worn everyday.

2. Chanel 2.55 Bag

In the 1920s, Coco Chanel grew tired of carrying her handbags in her hand and decided to design a bag that liberated her arms. Inspired by the straps found on soldiers’ bags she added thin straps and introduced the predecessor to the 2.55 bag in 1929. When Coco returned to fashion in the mid 50s, she updated her design, creating the iconic 2.55 named after the date it was born, February 1955.

3. Chanel NO.5

It was the first man-made perfume, using synthetic compounds rather than essential oils. Introduced in May (naturally) 1921, Chanel No. 5 is still the best-selling perfume in the world.

4. Chanel Suit

On the 5th August 1923 Coco Chanel invited a small group of journalists to her salon at 31 Rue Cambon to unveil her new collection, which included the first Chanel suit. The editors were underwhelmed by it and the tweed twinset barely got a mention in reviews.

5. Chanel Jersey

When Coco Chanel opened her first shop in Paris, a large number of the garments were made of jersey. Accustomed to silks, satins and other luxury materials, many of Chanel’s customers were shocked by her choice of a fabric traditionally used for men’s underwear. However, the innovative designer saw the potential for womenswear with the fabric as it wasn’t expensive, draped well and suited her clientele’s increasingly busy and active lifestyle. “I make fashion women can live in, breath in, feel comfortable in and look younger in,” Chanel asserted.

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