Where to Start…
When Elisa and Lily asked me to be a part of their community, I was initially excited – then mildly panicked. As a writer, I have voiced the opinion of lots of publications and fashion brands, but never my own. Fingers crossed, you will like what I have to say about style, London and what makes me get dressed in the morning. So here goes…
Fashion’s Night Out London
Last week I attended Chanel’s presentation at Fashion’s Night Out. Bronwyn Cosgrave, fashion historian and journalist, read from her fabulous style tome, Vogue On Coco Chanel. Cosgrave was joined by Vogue editor, Francesca Burns, and together they illustrated Chanel’s style signatures with a lineup of models in key looks. Referencing the designer’s informal salons (Chanel showcased her collections on her friends and Parisian socialites), Fran Burns cast a crew of her mates, favorite models and interns to walk the mini-runway. This was my first Fashion’s Night Out, and as I read Bronwyn’s book on the tube home, I thought about what an important occasion the event was; one night to celebrate the fashion industry with all its quirks – from Chanel’s rich heritage to enlisting your intern to model in a fashion show.
Chanel’s 5 Style Signatures
1 – Black and White
Rock royalty Pixie Geldof wore a monochrome dress to represent how Chanel pioneered the color mix. She was inspired by her orphanage where the nuns wore black and white.
2 –Texture Mix
To illustrate Chanel’s love of tweed, Brit model Edie Campbell was dressed in a suit made from the fabric. Chanel started using tweed while with her boyfriend, the Duke of Westminster, who wore it for riding. She was the first to request a mill to produce it in various colors.
London-based actress Anna Brewster (with super-cool hair) modeled pearls, perhaps one of Chanel’s most well known signatures. The designer famously wouldn’t address her staff without them and was quoted saying, “Go fetch me my pearls”. She was inspired by Elizabeth I, who wore the precious jewelry to assert her authority.
4 – Two Piece
Alice, Fran Burns’ intern, wore Chanel’s signature skirt suit. The jackets are lined with a chain to weigh them down so that they fit the body correctly. Before her comeback, Chanel was living in Switzerland. She came back to Paris and presented a collection of timeless suits, amongst others.
5- Quilted Bag
Molly Smith, a hotly tipped new face, showcased the quilted bag. Chanel loved horses and was inspired by the jackets that jockeys wore. In the 1960s, she walked everywhere and invented the first Chanel trainer for practicality. Fran Burns referenced this with a to-die-for pair of gold creepers by Lagerfeld for Resort 2013.
Thank you Bronwyn Cosgrave and Francesca Burns for your expertise on Chanel – (to read more I highly recommend buying the book). Thanks to Michelle Bobb Parris for letting me post snaps from her iPhone, and thanks to Osman Ahmed for being a total fashion geek and always dragging me out to things like this.
See Jessica’s Closet interview here.