Recently I picked up a fantastic little book called The Gospel According to Chanel by Karen Karbo and and I haven’t been able to put it down. “Life lessons from the worlds most elegant woman” isn’t just a how-to guide to being chic à-la Chanel, but a well researched, relatable biography of Chanels development from gamine, spirited orphan, to the Revolutioniser of woman’s fashion for decades. I feel a kindred spirit to Chanel (though she’d be abhorrent to hear it I’m sure). I was stunned to discover she started out her career in Millinery! Chanels first revolutionary design splash was the simple boater hat, made to oppose the great frou-frou platter hats of the Victorian era-piled high with feathers, bows, silk flowers and anything else they could balance atop their great pompadour piles.
Chanel stood for comfort and practicality in a time when the prevalent fashions were of corset crushed bodies and dresses layered and layered with heavy upholstery fabric. That’s what set her apart and made her a success. She was famous for choosing jersey when it was considered a cheap unpopular fabric, and used it to make her sportswear aimed at allowing women to move and be comfortable. She innovated the Little Black Dress, Costume Jewelry, Bell bottoms, pants for woman at all in fact!
Chanel we love you,