I just watched the movie Coco Before Chanel (2009) in which Audrey Tautou portrays the early life of the fashion legend. There are so many cool things I never new about Coco Chanel! She has such an interesting story!
A few things I didn’t know that I bet you didn’t either (Spoiler Alert!!): her real name wasn’t Coco; she was an orphan; she worked as a not-so-talented cabaret singer; she never intended to be in fashion but sort of fell into it after other failed attempts at fame and wealth. If the movie’s depiction is accurate, she also lied a lot about her past, was the mistress of a wealthy man in exchange for financial support, and suffered the loss of the only man she ever loved.
Having known very little about the late designer I could not have guessed that Coco was very much a hippy of her day. She refused to wear a corset and frowned upon the extravagant accessories that gilded every other woman's attire. Instead she was inspired by mens wear and tailored for herself a wardrobe of what was the beginning of today’s European prep.
The movie captures the timelessness of her style. Much of what she created for herself, although bold for the time, is still in fashion today:
Stripes are everywhere right now and they've always been a clean and classic look. (Upper left: Coco Chanel introducing the chic stripe in the 1930's; upper right: Audrey Tautou as Coco; Lower left and right: clothing from Anthropologie - I love the dress!)
Here is a pleated top with cinched shoulders (I'm not sure if this is actually Coco or someone replicating one of her outfits), I actually think it's much cuter than the current examples I've found:
(Audrey Tautou as Coco on left, Anthropologie top on right)
And finally, Coco in her elegant black dress, with pockets no less!