Some people often minimize the meaning of fashion. Fashion is a common tendency among masses, with a point from which starts the development and growth of a particular culture. Creation of fashion movements and directions falls under the influence of such significant factors as historical, cultural, and political background. At the end of the nineteenth century, women in America and other countries were involved in the movement of fighting for accepting their rights equal to men’s. The problem of gender inequality found its reflexion in various spheres, especially in a world of fashion. With the beginning of the twentieth century, a significant shift happened in the fashion formulas for women influencing not only the types of clothes but the attitude towards them. Coco Chanel was a legendary person to set the start for a breakthrough in the fashion field as well as the life of women.
Throughout history, women took a lower position in the society in comparison to men, which had changed with the appearance of the famous fashion designer. People experienced a few large movements for women’s rights considered to be equal according to men’s. It was mainly demonstrated in the political and social life of people, for instance in the women’s suffrage movement in the United States. In addition to this, females were thought to be people for domestic work, watching and upbringing children, please their husbands. Moreover, social norms dictated them to wear heavy, uncomfortable clothes, turned out to be made special for a man’s eye but not a woman’s body. They suffered from dressing in a corset as it could even harm their health. Coco Chanel came with the aim not to dictate the laws but rather create and accept new values and her vision of harmony. She was a person to help the women go out of limits of the social stereotypes, collective consciousness, and background. Her narrow fitted jackets and short skirts, which Chanel wore herself, are a compulsory binding set of every businesswoman. Her professional image was an ideal match of luxury and elusive simplicity. No one of her predecessors could create such a stylish and elegant image. Eleanor Dunne stated that Coco Chanel “paved a new way for the fashion brand, capitalizing on the changing times she was living in and her status as a fashion icon.” (“Seven Wonders: How Coco Chanel Changed the Course of Women’s Fashion – Wonderland”). However, nothing can be accomplished in such a seemingly simple way. This brave woman had overcome various obstacles to reach her successful career.
Among her biographical facts, one feature can be highlighted as critical and decisive for her achievements. Coco Chanel’s childhood was different from the ordinary kids’ as she lost her family at an early age and lived in an orphanage. When she became a teenager, Gabriel (which is her real name) learned the sewing and embroidery techniques. She turned out to be a very skillful girl and became aware of her strong potential. Chanel began to work in some shop, which did not give her a necessary result. Fortunately, she met an influential person who helped to open her store in Paris. From this point, she made her first step into a fashion world by introducing a new type of women’s hat, which leads to a revolution in the future. The remarkable feature was that Coco put away the high social status quality given a hat.
Instead, she made them more simple and suitable for any social class. After hats, the designer set herself to dresses. Notably, she lived in the postwar period, which became one of the benefits for her idea to create a uniquely new dress. As the women were occupied in the male jobs after the war, Coco Chanel proposed an excellent option for their clothes. It became something like a functional and beautiful, elegant, and simple at the same time. The dresses were “made out of Everyman materials such as jersey, usually associated with men’s undergarments” (“The Designer Coco Chanel”). Thus, Coco Chanel created her style. “Her designs were named for their simplicity and scarce decorations, a clear contrast to the colorful style that was popular during the time. None of her clothing included the typical restrictive elements of women’s dress” (“Coco Chanel: From Fashion Icon To Social Revolutionary”). To put in short, owing to her background and challenging life experience, this woman achieved many goals and became not the modeler who only creates the personal-style clothes, but the legendary person who puts a modern social value in her work.
Coco Chanel did not stop at the dresses and continued to change the fashion as well as the women’s population. She borrowed some clothes from males such as pants, coats, sweaters, and even ties and made females to wear it. Due to its usefulness and comfortable, all the innovative clothes became somewhat popular among women. Thus, her activities passed the new level, which resulted in the foundation of the Coco Chanel brand. Additionally, she set up her type of perfume – Chanel #5, the greatest in the world. The high level of her activity brought significant results in the society as well. Accomplishing her life goals, Chanel changed the vision of females by putting them in the same position as males. Her setting of the new standards in clothes modified many social stereotypes and thoughts. She invented a new comfortable dress instead of the corset by putting off the limits for women. That what women have no corset (a metaphor for some restrictions) anymore meant the revolution in their minds, in the minds of men and the society at all. As the designer stated, “I gave women a sense of freedom…I gave them back their bodies: bodies that were drenched in sweat, due to fashion’s finery, lace, corsets, underclothes, and padding” (“Coco Chanel: From Fashion Icon To Social Revolutionary”). Thus, the career of Chanel can be considered as the profound shift in the consciousness of the society in regards to the gender equality and recognition of the women’s rights.
To conclude, Coco Chanel is a woman to call legendary, influential, revolutionary. She created a new style of clothes useful and comfortable for women. With the realization of her high ambitions, Chanel made an impact on the attitude to females and recognition of their rights. She put them in a high position with the men making their rights equal. Her achievements in the fashion industry are metaphorical. The new clothes she invented and introduced can be associated with the change in the mind of society.
“Coco Chanel: From Fashion Icon To Social Revolutionary.” YouTube. N.p., 2017. Web. 10 Sept. 2017.
“Seven Wonders: How Coco Chanel Changed the Course of Women’s Fashion – Wonderland.” Wonderland. N.p., 2017. Web. 10 Sept. 2017.
“The Designer Coco Chanel.” TIME.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 10 Sept. 2017.