Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel Wisdom

When we think about Coco Chanel, we think about a woman who launched the first perfume with a designer name (Chanel no. 5), which would also become one of the most popular perfumes of all time. Coco also showed women that there was more to (lingerie) life than corsets, because “fashion is a luxury and luxury should be comfortable”. Cheers to that! Especially since corsets were extremely not-comfortable in those days. She was also the first designer who believed that black could be very classy in a time where black was related to grief and mourning. Now Coco was a woman with a very strong will of her own. So in the 1920s she designed that lovely Little Black Dress that probably hangs in the (imaginary walk-in) closet of a lot of women who read this. Not only her designs, but also her appearance was always glamorous yet minimalistic. However, her life didn’t start glamorous at all…

Coco Chanel was born as Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel in 1883 in Saumur, France. Coco grew up in very poor circumstances. Her mother died when Coco was very young and her father could not raise her, so she was put in an orphanage. Here she was raised by nuns who learned her how to sew. And she could sew alright. Those sewing skills would later make her one of the most influential fashion designers of all time. Like every other person, she also had a lot of burdens to overcome in her personal life. However, whether positive or negative, experiences will always give you something valuable: wisdom. Coco didn’t let the bad times weaken her spirit. She moved forward and continued to revolutionize the fashion world with for example high-class jewelry and handbags. She was also way ahead of her times. Not just as a fashion designer, but also as a woman with a mind and opinion of her own. No matter what happened, she always stayed true to her (honest) self.
Read more

Hobble skirt postcard 1911

Nowadays pencil skirts are a basic part of any female (work) wardrobe. This classy fashion item came to life in a very interesting way. Let me take you back to 1908…

In that year two brothers named Wilbur and Orville Wright, allowed the first female passenger, Mrs Berg to their aeroplane. Apparently this was quite a challenge. Mrs Berg was wearing a long skirt. Propellers of the aeroplane rotated very closely to her and the wind was blowing her skirt. To prevent accidents, the two men tied a rope around the ankles of Mrs Berg. And that was the very early beginning of a new fashion trend.

The flight and especially the skirt of Mrs Berg, became a hot topic in  newspapers and magazines around the globe. It didn’t take long before designers spotted the pictures and turned it into a new trend with a new name: The hobble skirt. Which was also known as the speed limit skirt. Since the skirt was “roped” around the knee your speed of walking had indeed a limit. It also created a wiggle in the walk of the person who was wearing the skirt. (Which is why tight pencil skirts are also referred to as wiggle skirt nowadays). Besides that, it required walking gracefully. Also stumbling over your own feet was important to avoid. The original hobble skirt craze didn’t last long, but was a forerunner of today’s mermaid gowns that are often seen on Hollywood’s red carpet and in bridal fashion.

Read more

After the roaring twenties we’re moving on to the next retro fashion episode: the 1930s! This decade started with “The Great Depression” which effected all aspects in life, including fashion. “The Great Depression” mood was applied into fashion by military inspired shouldered clothing and low, functional heels.

During the 1930s, popular Hollywood actresses like Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich and Jean Harlow introduced a more feminine, glamorous, sophisticated look. The short dresses from the 1920s flapper look were replaced with waist dresses and backless gowns that emphasized the female curves. For the everyday look, women suits became quite popular.

Also sunbathing became more common and beach fashion was adjusted to this development. Swimwear became briefer and often had a scooped back, so women could show off their tanned backs in the evening.

A trip down to fashionable 1930s lane…

 

The backless gown | 1930s
Retro vintage fashion 1930s
flickr.com

 

Retro vintage fashion 1930s
thegardeningcook.com