Coco Chanel was a woman of perfect grace: everything she designed was flawless and so was her perfume. To this day, when women want to smell elegantly and just right, they dab two drops of Chanel N°5 on their wrist. Ernest Beaux created the legendary scent in the roaring 1920s.
Paris' Palais de Tokyo museum plans to exhibit the famous scent, alongside work of Picasso, a close friend of Coco's. It makes sense (or scents?) that the famous perfume will find its showcase in France, Coco's home base. The grand designer of sporty chic, she took women out of corsets and put them in tennis dresses and casual clothes. She boasted: "a girl should be two things. Classy and fabulous." Coco pioneered the little black dress, the Chanel suit, the Chanel bag, and the health of a good suntan. With all of these accomplishments though, the petite, dark-haired designer is remembered for her distinctive floral fragrance.
Over the years, we inevitably see strange trends come and go that always leave us questioning, “Where on earth did that come from?” However, we don’t always look back to the trends of earlier years to really appreciate the hits and misses, the impractical styles, and the "WTF" moments. We thought it’d be fun to take a peek at the history of fashion for a few of the nutty trends that, after really thinking about it, left us with cocked heads and raised brows in amusement. These weren't mere made-only-for-the-runway oddities --people actually rocked these trends! Here are a few trends that veered off from fashionable to just weird:
The history of fashion goes far beyond Anna Wintour’s reign as editor of American Vogue, Alexander McQueen’s humble beginnings at Savile Row, or Kate Moss’ first photo shoot for The Face. Fashion originated when people started choosing what they wore for style, attractiveness, and comfort rather than functionality or the purpose clothing served in their lifestyles. This can be traced back to the late 19th century and the first couturier, Charles Worth. He shifted the focus of fashion by becoming the proprietor of what was en vogue, sketching and creating original designs for his clientele rather than simply taking orders for their apparel needs. He paved the way for designers, not consumers, to be the dictators of fashion.
Last Friday night, a star-studded crowd celebrated Chanel's 10th year in Las Vegas. The legendary fashion house not only celebrated their newly remodeled boutique at the Bellagio, but they also popped the champagne for the opening of their “Numeros Privees: A Journey Through the World of Chanel" exhibit. The newly opened exhibit features a 10-room installation of the world of Chanel. One room features a Karl Lagerfield dollhouse complete with CC logo print wallpaper and Coco Chanel dolls, dressed in mini Chanel jackets! A room next door features a classic quilted chain Chanel handbag with a 24 screen video of the making of the bag --right down to how the stitching is created.
Beijing, China, welcomed the opening of the Culture Chanel Exhibition Tour by Chanel. The National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) was the latest stop for the exhibit that was previously held at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Shanghai last March, and is now open through December 13th, 2011. The Culture Chanel Exhibition highlights the relationships held between fashion icon Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel and leading artist that defined the 1920’s. Creative director Karl Lagerfield currently leads and produces the tour which features a collection of 1920’s vintage ready-to-wear dresses and jewelry designed by Chanel including her trademark tailored suit.
Blessed with a whirlwind movie career, an unbelievable business swagger, and a sense of style so iconic she'll go down in fashion history among the likes of Coco Chanel and Jackie O, Sarah Jessica Parker can do it all. An accomplished actress from a young age, Parker is best known for her role as "Carrie Bradshaw" on Sex and the City, the hit TV series turned movie sequel, where she also served as executive producer.
Former president and chief creative officer for Halston Heritage (reports just surfaced that she will no longer be associated with the company), Golden Globe winner, Emmy winner, UNICEF representative, and former Gap spokeswoman make up a mere fraction of her credentials list. She also has a fragrance brand that grosses seven-figures a year as well as a clothing brand. If that weren't enough, Monolo Blahnik has named a shoe after her, the SJP.
The phenomenon of mixing insanely expensive designer pieces with label-less bargain duds began when Sharon Stone appeared on the red carpet of the 1996 Oscars wearing a Valentino skirt paired with a plain black t-shirt from the Gap. It's been fifteen years (105 in fashion years) since the birth of the High/Low craze, yet it is still going strong. Quickly evolving from a trend to a necessity, High/Low fashion has come to mean that mixing a $3 tank top with a $300 skirt is more than acceptable. In fact, it's highly encouraged. Celebs and commoners alike are balancing their wardrobes with high-end designer pieces and cheap-o trendy clothes and accessories.
Established in 1895, Henri Bendel was the first retailer to introduce Coco Chanel’s designs to the United States. Throughout the brand’s long history, it has gained a reputation for welcoming new talent. Henri Bendel has helped launch the careers of Anna Sui, Todd Oldham, James PurcelI, as well as many other iconic designers.
Today, Henri Bendel no longer sells clothing, but has now shifted the focus solely to high-quality accessories and cosmetics. The company currently operates eleven stores, including six boutique-sized stores, four medium-sized stores, and a massive flagship on Fifth Avenue. And, multiple new stores are currently underway to debut late next year.
From the runway:
The LWD dominated the spring 2011 ready-to-wear runway shows, most notably Dolce & Gabbana's. Jill Stuart’s take on the LWD included structured silhouettes mixed with ruffles and frills. Azzaro’s show-stopping LWD encompassed a crystal bodice and a tired white silk skirt both united by a large black bow. Monique Lhuillier’s LWD designs were just angelic. Some other LWD designers included Derek Lam, Chanel, and Alexander McQueen (which is in the hands of the deserving Sarah Burton who took over for the late McQueen).
2. For the "everyday" girl: Abercrombie, ‘Kylie’ dress ($68 at Abercrombie)
Fashion moves fast; do not get left behind. The LWD is the season's hottest trend, but it may become your fierce new closet staple.
We obsess over wearing (and affording) their clothing, but this Halloween it's time to honor the person behind the label. Best of all, you probably have all the items in your closet, can buy them cheap and will be able to wear them after the last bottle is popped at this year's greatest bash.