15 August 2015


The mystery isn't "who is the subject of this photo" - it's Coco Chanel; rather, it's a mystery to me why it's in my files! The layering and shadowing is rather fascinating; it could be a moment snapped by a papparazzo, though ... when? It has a timelessness... as does Chanel.

Chanel learned to sew during her convent education, and worked as a seamstress - and cafe entertainer. She began designing hats and became a licensed milliner in 1910, her Paris and Deauville shops financed by her lover, Arthur Capel. A subsequent shop in Biarritz was a big success, and by 1919 she was a licensed couturier. The rest is a history studded with stars and aristocrats.

She closed her fashion house, which employed 3000, at the start of the second world war, but relaunched in 1954, aged 70. She had introduced jersey, until then used for underwear, as a fashion fabric, and based her style on designs influenced by horseracing and yachting of the glamorous world she moved in. As well as the famous perfume, there's her famous Chanel suit, custom fitted to enable its wearers to perform daily activities with comfort and ease. And it was Chanel who made suntans not only acceptable, but denoting a life of leisure and privilege.

1 comment:

Kathleen Loomis said...

on the suntans: is she the patron saint of oncologists?