Ilexis Mustafaa Ms. Dickinson

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Ilexis Mustafaa


Research and Discovery

29 April, 2010

Fresh, famous, and loved by many are all ways to describe Gabrielle Chanel and her products. Gabrielle has been a very famous designer since the 1920s. She created very expensive and elegant clothes. Gabrielle became famous for popularizing practical clothing, like black dresses and pants for woman. Fashion during the period of 1900 to 1909 was controlled mostly by the upper classcitizens like Gabrielle. The upper class had the most control, because fashion was a great symbol of social status.

Gabrielle Chanel was born in France on August 19, 1883. She was not very wealthy as a child and she and her family lived in a small house on a narrow street. In large cities the Industrial Revolution had brought about a modern lifestyle, but Chanel and her family did not live in a very modernized town. At the age of twelve Gabrielle's mother died and her father went missing. Chanel, her two brothers, and two sisters were seperated. Her brothers were sent to a farm as child laborers, and her sent to an orphanage. She lived in an orphanage for six years as a restless girl. She was watched and many classified her as unique, meaning different from others. At the age of twenty-five Coco Chanel met Etienne Balsan, a gentlemen horse breeder and riding enthusiast, and accepted his proposal to live together. She enjoyed her life of living in a castle.

In 1903 woman started to explore a variety of careers and new ways of living. During World War I women took over men's jobs, and traditional clothes disappered. After th war women began to change again because of a new attitude toward fashion. Chanel said that " Fashion is always of the time in which you live". The challenge of fashion in 1925 was said to be because, women were just beginning to work in offices. Chanel began her designing in the 1920s. During this time period new dances, new music, new games, and a lot of new fashion were developing throughout our country and the world. At the age of fifty-five was at the prime of her beauty. Her face, like her figure had developed into the best it could be. She had never dressed with a greater perfection. At the time she was most admired and most invited. People proved to be more interested in her face. Gabrielle created clothes for the average woman "of the time" but she also created clothes for young women who rejected traditional ways of thinking and acting. Chanel inspired the short hair cut or "bob" because it went with the modern women. She broke the traditional styles of women's clothing. Chanel changed manys lives. For example she inspired people to overcome others and listen to our own instincts.

Chanel found the inspiration for her designs in her basic, everyday life. From the closets of her loved ones to the time she spent outdoors on expeditions, Chanel never stopped seeking out ideas for new product lines. Chanel’s fame came almost as much from her personal relationships as it did from her designs. Chanel became a companion to many of the most powerful and talented men of her time.Chanel was using them for the inspiration they were providing her. Chanel also sought inspiration from the natural environment around her. She had an enduring love for the camellia, a large, delicate flower whose leaves are arranged in an alternate pattern. She became infamous for trying to immortalize the flower in fabric and for wearing a white camellia herself on many occasions. The camellia is said to represent radiance and purity and was soon being placed on Chanel bags, belts and jewelry, in addition to clothes. This simple flower would become one of Chanel’s classic trademarks. Along with the CoCo Chanel double Cs.

Gabrielle created many different products. In May 1916 she welcomed jersey suits into her collection. A jersey suit is soft and elasticated knit that was used as underwear before she introduced her suits because its appearance and its weave were difficult to handle. The suits had a simplified elegance. For the first time, women showed their bare ankles in public. People were suprised by the design but it was a success. Her ideas were also contributed to her jewelry designs. She liked to be risky and combine real and imitation stones to see the product.

Gabrielle's famous Chanel No.5 perfume was the first designer's brand perfme ever created. Gabrielle began her buisiness by limiting herself to only selling hats and a few items of clothing. She slowly allowed her work to grow and when she did it became an instant success. She loved using wool jersey for her more modern clothes because it was inexpensive and easy to drape. Many people said her style was a symbol of elegance and a prime example of fashion in the later 1800s and early 1900s.

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