Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The last of the original designers?

I'm reading a book written by John Fairchild. One of the things he mentions therein is that Coco Chanel was the last original designer -- nothing has been original since. Would you agree?

What did Chanel bring us? The short list:
  1. The chemise dress, which unbound women from their corsets and brought on the "little boy" look.

Shorter hems - calves were now visible.

Cardigan jackets, introduced in 1925.

The "little black dress," a timeless staple of fashion, was introduced in 1927 - the same year as this dress.

Pea coats

Bell bottom trousers.

Multiple strands of necklaces, primarily pearls and gold that mixed the real jewels with costume jewelry.

Wool jersey as a fashion statement.

Quilted purses with gold shoulder chains - and don't forget those interlocking C's.

Two tone slingback shoes.

Chanel suits, which incorporate her trademark chain in the hems, to facilitate the creation of the right silhouette.

Do you see a trend here of wearing clothing for comfort? Chanel's styles didn't change that much from season to season, but what she did create was wearable clothing that was comfortable, casual, and stylish. What do you think? Was she the last original designer? Discuss.


  1. I'm not a student of fashion history (or of fashion for that matter) but I love what Chanel did for the way women dress, freeing us from confining and defining corsets. And pants! What would we do if we couldn't wear pants?
    She was revolutionary and uniquely freeing in a way no one else has been.
    What other barrier was there to breach? The 60s bra burning and not shaving? Maybe, but those were trends and not fashion statements made by specific designers.
    Fun to think about.

  2. I've often said that there have been no new fashion inventions since the 40's. I tied it more to the time than to a specific designer. If you see old patterns you are amazed that the styles you thought your generation invented go back to before you were born. One new invention, however, that seems to have had an important impact is lycra. It has led to a different type of look, though not always a good look in my opinion.