Coco Chanel's Many Inspirations
Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel was, and still is, the ultimate style icon of the century, introducing the little black dress, trousers and chunky jewelry to women around the world. She epitomized Parisian style and was effortlessly chic, wearing mostly black, with the occasional white and grey, paired with her signature pearls and chunky, maltese cross cuffs.
But what truly inspired Coco Chanel? Browsing the Chanel official website (which is absolutely gorgeous, provoking and inspiring, to say the least), these are what inspired the fashion icon:
Shooting Stars and Constellations
“I wanted to cover women with constellations! With stars! Stars of all sizes!” — Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel
An infinitely modern symbol, the comet leaves behind a trail of the most elaborate dreams of happiness and freedom. As always, it is powerfully associated with diamonds, which were the inspiration behind the first jewelry collection designed by Coco Chanel in 1932.
Black and White
“I have said that black comprises everything. So does white. They possess absolute beauty.” — Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel
The essentials of extreme chic, black and white are synonymous with the purity and simplicity of line. They play of opposites: geometric and graphic that is ever present in Chanel designs.
“The seeming simplicity of a masterpiece is sure proof of its grace.” — Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel
The camellia appealed to Chanel’s taste of provocation due to its reference as the forbidden flower, both androgynous and ambiguous. Without perfumes or thorns, the camellia seduces by its simplicity. Coco Chanel adored this flower for its almost geometircal roundness and the regular perfection and classical order of its pure white petals. Its’ the white camellia that has become her emblem, and the brand’s signature, as it alone evokes the true spirit fo Chanel.
“A woman’s true value counts most when she shines of beauty and grace.” — Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel
Pearls reveal Mademoiselle’s most feminine aspect. She first encountered them in the mosaics of Ravenna and then in the works of Rennaissance painters. She adored pearls and wore them at every occasion, both day and night. Displayign her artistic freedom and creativity, she multiplied the number of strands on her own necklace, a gesture which would later become a reference for Chanel watches and fine jewelry. Full of life, the pearl captures light and reacts to every movement of the wearer’s body. Its lunar glow gently enhances the beauty of a woman’s face.
“Elegance is in the lines.” — Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel
Coco Chanel became a passionate fan of horse racing and the diamond-patterned quilting of the stable lad’s jackets for its graphic, practical aspect, and for its suppleness. Thus, the famous handbag was born. With the purity of its lines, it embodies the perfection and simplicity that characterizes the Chanel style.
“Why does all I do become byzantine?” — Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel
Coco Chanel knew how to draw inspiration from her journeys to far-away places and escapades into the past, to create colorful, voluptuous and rebellious jewelry pieces. In 1920, during a trip to Venice, Coco Chanel was initiated to the rich Serenessima aesthetic, when Byzantine and Venetian gilding and stone masonry where to become source of inspiration for her jewelry pieces. The audacious and avant-garde Chanel adapted ancient art tothe image of the modern woman.
Charms — four leaf clover and #5
“Luck is a way of being. Luck is my soul.” — Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel
Coco Chanel loved to be surrounded by symbols and to read meaning into the smallest detail. Attched to the symbols of luck, good fortune and prosperity, she sprinkled her creations with discreet messages and personal signs through the number 5, the letter C, the four-leaf clover, the camellia and the comet.
The number 5: Her lucky number that punctuated all the great events of her life.
The four-leaf clover: The appeal of the four-leaf clover comes as much from the symmetry of its four leaves as from its reputation as a good luck charm. It was one of Coco Chanel’s favorite motifs.
The camellia: Chanel’s favorite flower and symbol of long life and purity.
The comet: Attached to symbols and good luck charms, she was surely thinking of a shooting star which, when you wish on it, makes your wish come true.