Fashion History Essay Essay
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Gabrielle Coco Chanel is one of the greatest women of the 20th century. She is a symbol of women’s freedom from conventionalities and independence in views. Coco Chanel showed that a woman could be not only a housewife but also a human with its thought, views and voices that are to be heard. Her ambitious ideas in the mode made it more simple, elegant and date at all times. Even now, every self-respecting lady has a “little black dress” in her wardrobe.
We all know the name of Coco Chanel but not everyone knows who was Paul Poiret. Meanwhile, this man did a lot to women’s cloth freedom. It was he, who banished the corset. Poiret wanted no over-complicated structures for women’s clothes. He wanted the clothes to emphasize the beauty of the female body and give the possibility to admire the femininity.
Paul Poiret was an amateur of the Ballets Russes. Moreover, in the Ballets he found an inspiration for his mode. Tutus, easy forms and airy fabrics were reflected in his models. This style was cold “ Pasha Paris”.
But the relationships between Poiret and Chanel was strained. The bogemic chic of Poiret ran counter with Chanel’s casual chic and sport style. One of the well-known dialogs between these two couturiers clear illustrates their conflict of tastes. Erner described in his book “one day bumping into Chanel in her black ensemble one evening, Poiret exclaimed "You must be in mourning! But for whom?" (1). Chanel is reputed to have replied "For you, my dear". Poiret called Chanel “the inventor of misery” .
The time put everything on its places. Chanel won in this bottle. After the Second World War women did not want to wear chic and glamorous dresses. They were too depressed; most of them lost their husbands, sons, and fathers. Women were to start working to survive. In such difficult times there were no demand for Poiret’s bogemic chic. And Chanel felt this very acutely. She offered women simple and casual but at the same time elegant and stylish clothes.
Chanel, as well as Poiret, admires the Ballets Russes. The fact, that Serge Deaghilev chose Coco Chanel to create costumes for his shows, one more time emphasizes that Chanel kept up with the times and met and created the latest fashion trends. Chanel created very bold and different from anything else swimwear that became very popular among dandies from the Riviera. Diaghilev saw that swimwear and decided that something similar he needed for his next standing. Chanel was invited to work for the Ballets Russes. Together with famous Spanish painter Pablo Picasso Chanel worked for the play “The Blue Train” (1924). Her costumes were as usual minimalistic but so convenient and appropriate that she has received the most favorable reviews from the dancers and Diaghilev himself. Not from the beginning, because her creative and sometimes crazy ideas were too bold for those times. Finally, people from the Ballets and all over the world realized the genius of Mademoiselle Chanel.
Coco Chanel is the icon. She inspired women all over the world to be brave, honest and real. Her quotations became a life division for millions of people. Here is one of them: “A girl should be two things: who and what she wants.” (2).
Erner, Guillaume. Victimes de la Mode. La Découverte, 2006. Print.
Karbo, Karen. The Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons from the World's Most Elegant Woman. Morris Book Publishing, LLC, 2009. Print.
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