The Age of Comfort: When Paris Discovered Casual--and the Modern Home Began

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You don't need to be a Francophile to read this book, but you will be one by the time you finish it. Well researched and brimming with anecdotes and architectural and design details. You can unsubscribe from newsletters at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in any newsletter. For information on how we process your data, read our Privacy Policy. This website uses cookies to improve user experience. This is definitely something that a lot of people would have preferred to put aside, to forget, to just go on selling Chanel scarves and jewellery.

The Age of Comfort: When Paris Discovered Casual--and the Modern Home Began

In , Chanel moved to Switzerland , where she lived for several years, part of the time with Dincklage. Five rooms from La Pausa have been replicated at the Dallas Museum of Art , to house the Reves' art collection as well as pieces of furniture belonging to Chanel. Chanel was convinced that women would ultimately rebel against the aesthetic favored by the male couturiers, what she called "illogical" design: the "waist cinchers, padded bras, heavy skirts, and stiffened jackets".

At more than 70 years old, after having her couture house closed for 15 years, she felt the time was right for her to re-enter the fashion world. However, the American and British press saw it as a "breakthrough", bringing together fashion and youth in a new way. According to Edmonde Charles-Roux, [9] : Chanel had become tyrannical and extremely lonely late in life.

In her last years she was sometimes accompanied by Jacques Chazot and her confidante Lilou Marquand. The former rivals shared happy memories of times with the Duke of Westminster. They frequently strolled together through central Paris. As began, Chanel was 87 years old, tired, and ailing. She carried out her usual routine of preparing the spring catalogue. She had gone for a long drive the afternoon of Saturday, 9 January. Soon after, feeling ill, she went to bed early.

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She died on Sunday, 10 January , at the Hotel Ritz, where she had resided for more than 30 years. Although Chanel was viewed as a prominent figure of luxury fashion during her life, Chanel's influence has been examined further after her death in When Chanel died, the first lady of France, Mme Pompidou, organized a hero's tribute. Soon, damaging documents from French intelligence agencies were released that outlined Chanel's wartime involvements, quickly ending her monumental funeral plans. As early as , Harper's Bazaar raved over Chanel's designs: "The woman who hasn't at least one Chanel is hopelessly out of fashion This season the name Chanel is on the lips of every buyer.

The Chanel trademark look was of youthful ease, liberated physicality, and unencumbered sportive confidence. The horse culture and penchant for hunting so passionately pursued by the elites, especially the British, fired Chanel's imagination. Her own enthusiastic indulgence in the sporting life led to clothing designs informed by those activities.

From her excursions on water with the yachting world, she appropriated the clothing associated with nautical pursuits: the horizontal striped shirt, bell-bottom pants, crewneck sweaters, and espadrille shoes—all traditionally worn by sailors and fishermen. Chanel's initial triumph was her innovative use of jersey, a machine knit material manufactured for her by the firm Rodier, [9] : , and a fabric traditionally relegated to the manufacture of undergarments.

Chanel's early wool jersey traveling suit consisted of a cardigan jacket and pleated skirt, paired with a low-belted pullover top. This ensemble, worn with low-heeled shoes, became the casual look in expensive women's wear. Considered too "ordinary" to be used in couture, it was also disliked by designers because the knit structure made it difficult to handle compared to woven fabrics. Chanel's introduction of jersey to high-fashion worked well for two reasons: First, the war had caused a shortage of other materials, and second, women began desiring simpler and more practical clothes.

Her fluid jersey suits and dresses were created for practicality and allowed for free movement. This was greatly appreciated at the time because women were working for the war effort as nurses, in civil service, and in factories.

The age of comfort : when Paris discovered casual--and the modern home began / Joan DeJean

Their jobs involved physical activity and they had to ride trains, buses, and bicycles to get to work. Designers such as Paul Poiret and Fortuny introduced ethnic references into haute couture in the s and early s. The beading and embroidery on her garments at this time was exclusively executed by Kitmir , an embroidery house founded by an exiled Russian aristocrat, the Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna , who was the sister of Chanel's erstwhile lover, Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich.

First introduced in , [55] the Chanel tweed suit was designed for comfort and practicality. It consisted of a jacket and skirt in supple and light wool or mohair tweed, and a blouse and jacket lining in jersey or silk. Chanel did not stiffen the material or use shoulder pads, as was common in contemporary fashion. She cut the jackets on the straight grain, without adding bust darts.

This allowed for quick and easy movement. She designed the neckline to leave the neck comfortably free and added functional pockets. For a higher level of comfort, the skirt had a grosgrain stay around the waist, instead of a belt. More importantly, meticulous attention was placed on detail during fittings. Measurements were taken of a customer in a standing position with arms folded at shoulder height.

Chanel conducted tests with models, having them walk around, step up to a platform as if climbing stairs of an imaginary bus, and bend as if getting into a low-slung sports car.


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Chanel wanted to make sure women could do all of these things while wearing her suit, without accidentally exposing parts of their body they wanted covered. Each client would have repeated adjustments until their suit was comfortable enough for them to perform daily activities with comfort and ease. Its heroine and her story had resonated for Chanel since her youth. The flower was associated with the courtesan , who would wear a camellia to advertise her availability.

After the jersey suit, the concept of the little black dress is often cited as a Chanel contribution to the fashion lexicon, a style still worn to this day. In —, the actress Suzanne Orlandi was one of the first women to wear a Chanel little black dress, in velvet with a white collar. Feminine fashion of this moment in the 20th century will be baptized lop off everything.

The s was the Great Depression era, when women needed affordable fashion. Chanel boasted that she had enabled the non-wealthy to "walk around like millionaires". Chanel proclaimed "I imposed black; it's still going strong today, for black wipes out everything else around. Chanel introduced a line of jewellery that was a conceptual innovation, as her designs and materials incorporated both costume jewellery and fine gem stones. This was revolutionary in an era when jewellery was strictly categorized into either fine or costume jewellery.

Her inspirations were global, often inspired by design traditions of the Orient and Egypt. Wealthy clients who did not wish to display their costly jewellery in public could wear Chanel creations to impress others.

Coco Chanel - Wikipedia

In , designer Paul Iribe collaborated with Chanel in the creation of extravagant jewellery pieces commissioned by the International Guild of Diamond Merchants. The collection, executed exclusively in diamonds and platinum, was exhibited for public viewing and drew a large audience; some 3, attendees were recorded in a one-month period.

As an antidote for vrais bijoux en toc , the obsession with costly, fine jewels, [33] Chanel turned costume jewellery into a coveted accessory—especially when worn in grand displays, as she did. Originally inspired by the opulent jewels and pearls given to her by aristocratic lovers, Chanel raided her own jewel vault and partnered with Duke Fulco di Verdura to launch a House of Chanel jewellery line.

A white enameled cuff featuring a jeweled Maltese cross was Chanel's personal favourite; it has become an icon of the Verdura—Chanel collaboration. Chanel said, "It's disgusting to walk around with millions around the neck because one happens to be rich. I only like fake jewellery In Chanel introduced a handbag inspired by soldier's bags.

How I captured the soul of Paris' housing giants

Its thin shoulder strap allowed the user to keep her hands free. Following her comeback, Chanel updated the design in February , creating what would become the " 2. The bag's design was informed by Chanel's convent days and her love of the sporting world. The chain used for the strap echoed the chatelaines worn by the caretakers of the orphanage where Chanel grew up, whilst the burgundy lining referenced the convent uniforms. In an outdoor environment of turf and sea, Chanel took in the sun, making suntans not only acceptable, but a symbol denoting a life of privilege and leisure.

Historically, identifiable exposure to the sun had been the mark of laborers doomed to a life of unremitting, unsheltered toil. The Chanel influence made sun bathing fashionable.

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the television film, see Coco Chanel film. French fashion designer.