Posted on October 31 2018
"The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud." Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel was a fighter for feminine freedom, and she did it in style. Chanel created desirable, sought-after pieces that changed the course of fashion and history. Incorporating functional menswear into her designs, Chanel created what she wanted to wear- pieces that were beautiful and tasteful, but ultimately were comfortable and allowed the ability to breathe, move, and be free. Soft suiting free of corsets, flexible jersey knits, pants, hats with smaller brims, skirts with functional pockets, costume jewelry, and most prolific, the Little Black Dress, among many others.
Chanel's innovations to womenswear were groundbreaking in the early 1900s. Her use of fabrics and styles traditionally reserved for men went against convention, but are now considered standard. Chanel's point of view has withstood the test of time, and can still be seen through her thoughtful and timeless designs and high standards for quality and construction. Chanel pieces are investment-worthy, with most either retaining or increasing in value. These are our current fave five pieces that embody the Chanel spirit, because Gabrielle believed that "A girl should be two things: who and what she wants."
We love everything about this Chanel numbered haute couture houndstooth jacket: the soft boxy shape with ease for movement, the large houndstooth pattern woven in thick yarn to add playful texture to the traditional suiting fabric, and the feminine pussy bow at the neck that hooks on for an effortless no-fuss bow. It embodies everything that Chanel stood for, and know it would be a fixture in our closet we'd enjoy pulling out year after year.
This faux pearl cage chain belt by Chanel is another piece that highlights Chanel's dedication to the modern woman. This unique chain belt spotlights the faux pearl, one of Chanel's favorite costume elements. With a newly active lifestyle, women no longer desired precious pearls, but instead were able to freely run around town with faux costume versions. This belt adds a decorative element to an outfit, rather than a constrictive corset-like piece.
This corset-boned camisole by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel in spring 1993 was a memorable modern take on Gabrielle's iconic bouclé suits. Structured yet soft, and audacious yet refined, this tank-style corset zips up the back. All the shape and silhouette we love in a corset, yet without the discomfort and disfigurement of a traditional corset. Gone are the tangled laces and impossible waist; here instead, we have a comfortable and easy zipper back. Layered with Lagerfeld's brilliant penchant for logos, we love this piece on the runway layered with chain belts and large CHANEL logo belts. Claudia Schiffer's supermodel strut makes us all love the 90s just a little more.
Gabrielle Chanel loved mixing precious jewels with artisan-crafted costume pieces, and was one of the driving forces behind the popularity of beautiful costume jewelry. She had fun in the space between the real and the faux, playing with the public's expectations of jewelry, and this Chanel teddy bear charm cluster pendant showcases that spirit. Polished gripoix glass pendants hang next to a rhinestone adorned teddy bear locket, all on a long dramatic chain and in a scale and style that keeps the look from becoming childish.
The quintessential Chanel suit. This power set is timeless for good reason. Softly structured, it is a beautiful pairing that creates a flattering silhouette appropriate for nearly any occasion. It is a rare style that can last through decades, and this Chanel jacket and skirt set has just enough detailing to keep from becoming boring, yet is immediately identifiable as a Chanel signature. Soft shaping in textured wool with a boxy jacket keeps the silhouette clean with ease for movement. Zig zag chevron stitch detailing reminds that this is an artisan piece with style that will always be in fashion- just add heels and pearls.