Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Coco Chanel .....Fashion Icon

Coco Chanel

Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel is a fashion icon.  I love her story.............
She was born into a poor family in France in the year 1883.  After the passing of her mother, she (age 12) and her younger sister were left in an orphanage run by nuns.  It was here that she learned to sew.
Leaving the convent at age 18, Gabrielle became known as Coco after singing the song "Ko Ko Ri Ko" in a small French cafe in the evenings.

Coco was beautiful and talented.  Because of the financial assistance and social connections of various male admirers throughout her life, she always seemed to have the backing for her creativity.
Her first shop was a millinery (hat) boutique funded by her first lover, Etienne Balsan.  A sad love story.  I suggest you view the movie, Coco Before Chanel. It is a French movie with English subtitles. Have a box of Kleenex with you.  View the trailer here:

Coco's later financier, Arthur Edward "Boy" Capel , was instrumental in making her dreams of designing for the wealthy clientele possible.  She wanted to liberate women from the tight corsets of the day by designing loose fitting cotton jersey clothing.  Her easy flowing designs became popular and in demand.

In 1920 she launched her perfume, Chanel No. 5.  In Chanel's words,  
 Perfume “is the unseen, unforgettable, ultimate accessory of fashion. . . . that heralds your arrival and prolongs your departure,” 

In 1925, she introduced the now legendary Chanel suit with straight jacket, often without a collar and well-fitted skirt straight or pleated. Her designs were revolutionary for the time—borrowing elements of men’s wear and emphasizing comfort over the constraints of then-popular fashions. 

Another 1920s revolutionary design was Chanel’s little black dress. She took a color once associated with mourning and showed just how chic it could be for evening wear

She fought through the depression of the 1930's, but with the onset of World War II, she closed her design house with the German occupation of much of France.

In 1954, at the age of 71, Chanel returned to the world of fashion after her vocal outrage over the waist cinching designs of Christian Dior and Balenciaga.  The Chanel suit became a popular status symbol for a new generation, made of tweed fabric with its slim skirt and collarless jacket trimmed in braid and patch pockets, and sewn into the hem - a gold colored chain - ensuring the jacket hang properly.  

Coco Chanel died on January 10, 1971, at her apartment in the Hotel Ritz. She never married, but was rumored to have many lovers.  In her own words: 
 “I never wanted to weigh more heavily on a man than a bird.” Hundreds crowded together at the Church of the Madeleine to bid farewell to the fashion icon, many wearing Chanel suits.

Karl Lagerfeld took over the Chanel haute couture in 1983 and the ready-to-wear in 1984.  He continues to use the signature design and details of the CC label.  The fact that he can use the Chanel inspiration from the archives is a testament to the importance of Coco Chanel. 

You may like to watch the Spring-Summer 2018 Ready-to-wear runway showing of Chanel at the Grand Palais in Paris.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Jumpsuit love.............

I love jumpsuits!
And I am so glad to see them coming in strong this year.

This one is from Chico's and I just love the way it fits.  I normally buy a size one top and size zero pant.  I bought it in size one and it is perfect.  I am long waisted and it is cut to fit just right.

The feminine ruffled accent front, gold zippered pockets and gold toned buttons give this "utility" jumpsuit a very chic look.

The fabric is a knit polyester with a little stretch and give.

With some gold accent jewelry and my leopard slip on shoes, I'm ready for an evening out!

I added my own belt, but it can be worn without.  It has a wide elastic waist (better seen when you go to the website).

Why am I laughing??
I'm laughing because I just found out that it is on sale for President's weekend.  You would be crazy not to buy one.
So get out your credit card and....  

Monday, February 12, 2018

Christian Dior ......... full skirt and cinched waist

Christian Dior
French Couturier

Christian Dior was born in the town of Granville on the coast of Northern France in 1905.  When he was five, his family moved to Paris.
His parents had dreams of him becoming a diplomat, but Dior was artistically inclined and after graduating in Political Science, he opened a small art gallery.  After closing the gallery three years later, he made money by selling his fashion sketches, eventually becoming a magazine illustrator in 1935.

With the outbreak of WWII, he served in the French Army.
In 1942 after his service, he returned to Paris and began working for couturier Lucien Long where they dressed the wives of Nazi officers and French collaborators in order to preserve the fashion industry.

The House of Christian Dior was founded in 1946 in Paris and in 1947 Dior showed his debut collection.
The "look" consisted of a mid-calf full skirt with a cinched waist and fuller bust.  

In 1948, Dior established a luxury ready-to-wear house in New York City.

A costume fitting with Hollywood actress Ava Gardner for her film The Little Hut  (1957)

In 1955, nineteen year old Yves Saint Laurent became Dior's design assistant. 

Just two years later, Dior was vacationing in Italy when he had his third heart attack and died at the age of 52.  It was estimated that 2,500 people attended his funeral in France.

Yves Saint Laurent after the funeral.  He remained the creative force for a while until having to serve in the military.

Over the next years, there were a number of style directors at the House of Dior.  John Galliano served as creative director from 1977 to 2011.  

Paris Fashion Week Spring 2018 .......
Fir the first time a woman is in charge.  Maria Grazia Chiuri was said to have re-invented Christian Dior.

To view the entire 2018 ready-to-wear collection click here:

Did you happen to notice Melania Trump wearing a Dior white pantsuit at the State of the Union address.

I pulled some of my favorites from the 2018 collection for you to see:

A simple double breasted suit jacket and pants.  Notice the length of the jacket and the length of the pants.  

Several denim pieces were shown

I'm loving this fun jacket 

Skirt may be a little short for my taste, but I love the pleats

 Everyone needs a "red" ensemble

I can easily see myself in this two piece

Monday, February 5, 2018

Diane Von Furstenberg and the iconic wrap dress

Diane von Furstenberg

Diane von Furstenberg was born in Brussels, Belgium in 1946.  According to Diane, her mother, an Auschwitz concentration camp survivor, taught her that "fear is not an option".

She married into the German princely House of Furstenberg, as the wife of Prince Egon von Furstenberg.  She maintained her name even after her divorce.

After studying economics in college, she worked as an assistant to a fashion photographer in Paris.  Then in Italy she worked as an apprentice to a textile manufacturer.

It is believed that the iconic wrap dress was conceived when Diane saw Julie Nixon Eisenhower on television wearing one of her wrap tops with one of her skirts.... and she decided to put the two together.

In 1974 after meeting Vogue editor Diana Vreeland, she introduced her knitted jersey "wrap dress".  By 1975 she was reported to be making 15,000 of the dresses a week.

Cybill Shepherd wore the Diane von Furstenberg dress in the movie Taxi Driver in 1975

In 1985 she left her design studio for France where she engaged in other economic endeavors.

In 1997 she re-launched her design company and re-introduced the wrap dress.  Now a new generation of women fell in love with the design.

In Diane's own words, "The wrap dress is a cultural phenomenon.  What is so special about it is that it's actually a very traditional form of clothing.  It's like a toga, it's like a kimono, without buttons, without a zipper.  What made my wrap dresses different is that they were made out of jersey and they sculpted the body."  The Independent 2008

Kate Hudson wore a Diane von Furstenberg dress to the You, Me and Dupree film premiere in 2006.

Amy Adams wore three DVF wrap dresses in American Hustle in 2013.

The Duchess of Cambridge in 2014 proved the DVF dress was perfect for Royal duties.

The Diane von Furstenberg Spring 2018 ready-to-wear Collection with Jonathan Saunders collaborating was full of color and prints and hand painted florals.  You can see the full runway by clicking here:

I pulled out a few of my favorites:

The front zipper skirt with the wrap waist blouse could go anywhere.

A wrap dress variation with a very interesting sleeve.  I find myself wanting a close up look to see how it is constructed.

All of the pants are wide legs..........flattering to every shape!

Loving this vibrant orange.

Loving the floral

I want this gorgeous wrap jump suit.

 These pants definitely make a statement.

Just for fun, I found some DVF fashions for you to peruse......

"I don't like to talk about my dreams. I like to make them happen. I prefer to talk about them when they're done."

Diane von Furstenberg