Quick Facts:

  • Born in Samur, France in 1883
  • Had a difficult childhood (poverty + strict environment + orphanage)
  • Made a living as a cabaret performer and seamstress before her iconic influence in the fashion industry
  • First introduction to her own business was opening a hat boutique called Chanel Modes in 1910 (Paris, France)
  • Opened the first Chanel Boutique in 1912 (Deauville, France)
  • Chanel's designs were deeply inspired by menswear
  • Helped women to leave behind the popularity and discomfort of corsets 
  • Created the staple "Little Black Dress",  2 piece women's suit, and 2.55 bag (shoulder bag)
  • Known for her "risky" ways of doing things (wearing pants when everyone wore skirts, wearing black when nobody seen a purpose in the color being worn by woman unless it was worn for mourning,  etc)
  • Passed away in 1971 at the age of 87 years old. Up until her passing, Coco was still very involved in designing for the House of Chanel

My Process:

Before diving in to the creation of this inspired set of looks, I found it extremely necessary to do some research on the history of Coco's life. Not only did this process inspire me, it also gave me more admiration for the value that she brought to the world of fashion. My research consisted of reading through the official Chanel website, reading the Met Museum's timeline of art history on Chanel,  and watching the 2009 biographical film "Coco Before Chanel." As a bonus, I also took a bit of time to watch some of the runway show archives during Karl Lagerfeld's time at the house as creative director.

My Inspiration & Approach:

After learning that Chanel found a lot of her inspiration in menswear, I wanted to create a set of 5 looks based upon uniforms worn in a male dominant profession. While doing some searching I came across a plethora of fields but one that sparked my interest was the military. Although I am not a fan of war and wish for peace around the entire world, I do understand the purpose of having military personnel. This is what led to me wanting to shed light on the women that are part of the process of keeping citizens protected. These women are part of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard and although the percentages of women in these roles are significantly lower in comparison to men, they too have an impact.

The Chanel inspired looks I create will be made in reference of the details of each US military branch mentioned above. Enjoy!



This was my first time really diving into a designer from a design and historical perspective. I really wanted to get as much of an understanding of Coco and her journey to help guide me in the process of creating these looks. Although I have no idea whether or not she would be ecstatic about the looks I created with her style in mind, I appreciated the process of going through the challenge of creating them. Every detail from the choice of fabric, patterns, collars, buttons, placement, etc had to be considered and I can understand why so many people have such a high appreciation for what she achieved in the fashion industry. Her designs may have looked "simple" to the eye but she was always beautifully intricate with her technique.

Every look I created is just a starting point and if I had an opportunity I would create more within the theme I chose to create more garments, handbags, shoes, and accessories. I applaud Chanel's current creative director (Virginie Viard) as I know the task of her role is not an easy one in light of stepping into the positions that Coco and Karl had during their time. I look forward to seeing the continued success of the brand!

*Speaks in French* : Reconnaissant

Further Comment:

During my study of Coco Chanel, I was alerted by some information regarding her personal life. Although many people may not agree with her choices (extremely understandable) the purpose of this project was to focus on her contribution to the fashion industry on the basis of design and style. 

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