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How Coco Chanel made the funeral dress mega popular around the world
How Coco Chanel made the funeral dress mega popular around the world

Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel had a striking ability to surround herself with the best people, which speaks of the extraordinary insight of the couturier. Her true love fully matched her hostess - deep, real and unique. It was she who brought Gabrielle both genuine joy and incredible pain. This love raised the provincial from Saumur to unattainable heights and made a trendsetter out of an ordinary dressmaker.

If not for this feeling, the inconspicuous Gabrielle Bonneur Chanel would have continued to sew cabaret outfits in one of the ordinary sewing workshops. And she would never have known that in addition to the traitorous men, which in her eyes was the father, there are men who can support and guide.

The tragic love story of a famous couturier and Arthur Capel

Arthur "Boy" Capel, Etienne Balsan and Gabrielle Chanel

For close friends - just "Fight". The famous rake, polo player and the greatest love of the great Coco Chanel. Capel was Gabrielle's father, brother, lover, friend, and concentrated in himself the whole raison d'être of her existence. To the assurances of numerous mistresses to abandon Coco, Arthur replied: "It's just like if you offered to cut off my leg. Impossible!"

A romance between 26-year-old seamstress Gabrielle Chanel and 28-year-old coal mine owner Arthur Capel began in 1909. They met during a hunt, on which Coco took her then patron Etienne Balsan. Arthur often visited the Villa Balsan in the fashionable area of ​​Compiegne in northern France. At that time, the relationship between Coco and Etienne was not the strongest, which literally threw Chanel into Capel's arms.

Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel and Arthur "Boy" Capel

Both have ambition, dedication, an entrepreneurial streak and a passion for everything unusual. Capel took Chanel under his wing and provided financial support, thanks to which she opened the workshop in 1910. Now every fashionista knows the address of the atelier at 31 rue Cambon in Paris.

Arthur helped Coco build a client base that has since included only representatives of high society. In 1913, with the light hand of Boy, Chanel acquired a boutique in the resort town of Deauville. She brought into fashion women's outfits in a nautical style and, unthinkable in those years, a tan. These were only the first steps in attempts to radically change the fashion of that time.

Style icon and trendsetter Coco Chanel

In 1918, Capel unexpectedly married a British woman, Diana Wyndham, a representative of one of the most aristocratic families in England. Coco was jarred by the decision of her lover, but the woman did not end their relationship, despite the fact that Arthur's ring finger was encircled by a wedding ring. They quarreled-reconciled-parted-reconciled and so on in a circle, until death coveted Capel. Still, he was a favorite of women.

On December 22, 1919, on the way to Cannes, a tire burst in Capel's car, causing him to lose control, and the car flew into a ditch. The death of a loved one was a big blow for Coco. Then, standing on Arthur's grave, Chanel vowed that she would make women all over the world wear mourning for him. In memory of the man who left Coco forever, taking her heart with him.

How the infamous "little black dress" was created

Coco Chanel trying on

The little black dress is still synonymous with sexuality, hedonism and style itself. In 1926, this wardrobe item first appeared as an illustration on the pages of the October issue of the American fashion magazine Vogue.

Creating her "eternal masterpiece", Chanel tried to make it simpler, without the then fashionable tinsel and trimmings, which hid the whole essence of the outfit. This is how Koko saw Arthur Capel: not capable of deceiving, giving ghostly hopes, but always being honest with himself and others.

The dress, which Chanel created, covered her knees, because the designer considered this part of the female body to be the ugliest. It featured a simple semicircular neckline and elongated sleeves.

Why Chanel's creation does not lose its relevance in the modern world

Modern style icons choose classics

Today, this style is considered to be a sign of modesty and conservatism. However, during the Chanel era, the little black dress represented the Free Twenties with its jazz motifs. He was chosen only by the most daring, thirsty and waiting for changes.

Over the next decades, the epithet "eternal" classic was firmly entrenched behind the creation of Coco Chanel, but few people know about the political overtones that it took over in different years. So, in December 1961, the film "Breakfast at Tiffany's" was shown on big screens with Audrey Hepburn, dressed in a black dress from Hubert de Givenchy - in the same December, the first approved contraceptive pills appeared in UK pharmacies.

Still from the romantic comedy Breakfast at Tiffany's, 1961

In June 1994, Lady Dee attended a reception at the Serpentine Gallery, wearing a Christina Stambolian gown that was completely inappropriate for a member of the royal family. The press quickly added two plus two: that evening, Prince Charles appeared on television with confessions of numerous betrayals. Princess Diana's outfit went down in history as a "dress of revenge".

Princess Diana to the legendary "revenge dress" by Christina Stambolian

Each fashion season, Chanel's brainchild takes on a new life under the scissors of modern designers. "The dress of mourning" acquires new social shades and meanings, heralding the next changes in society and the consciousness of people, as it once marked a turning point in the life of the great Coco Chanel.

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