Happy Birthday, Coco Chanel: 5 Fashion Trademarks from a Legend
My obsession with Coco Chanel began before I even knew who she was. The scent of Chanel No. 5 is as embedded in my memory as any I can think of, reminding me of afternoons playing dress-up from grandmothers' closets and church on Christmas Eve. Of course I am not alone in this regard -- No. 5 is the most recognizable fragrance in the world, and it was my first, subtle introduction to Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, better known as Coco. Born on August 19, 1883, in Saumur, France, Mlle. Chanel would grow up to change the world, both in her own time and beyond.
If I sound enamored of Coco Chanel, it's because I am. She is fascinating, complicated and impossibly romantic. She defies the imagination: A couturier worth millions, a Parisian fashion powerhouse draped in pearls and dipped in diamonds, the most elegant woman in the world who had a string of famous (and infamous) lovers...once went stream fishing with Winston Churchill.
In honor of Coco's birthday, we present five of her signature innovations in fashion and beauty.
5. The Chanel Suit
Featuring menswear-inspired lines with boxy jackets and straight, narrow skirts, her tweed suit remains a timeless fashion staple for the luxury brand even today. No more corsets, or manipulation of the female figure. Comfort, ease and natural fluidity are the focus. Chanel's tweed suits were favored by such fashionistas as Jacqueline Kennedy, and today by Vogue editrix Anna Wintour.