The myth of Coco

Coco c’est moi

"Here qu'a vu Coco dans le Trocadéro?" That distant evening of more than a century ago the little song resonated faintly in an obscure café chantant in a small town in central France. To sing it was a small twenty-year-old girl: almost no one would have bet a penny on the future of Gabrielle Chanel aka Coco, who had just been out of the orphanage and was looking for luck in the cabaret world. It will not break into the world of entertainment, but in the 20th century it will be destined to leave its mark.

How can you forget it? Three extraordinary films have been dedicated to his extraordinary and non-conformist life in the last year, in which the role of Coco is interpreted by Shirley Maclaine, Audrey Tatou and Anna Mouglalis, while still today her style lives again on the catwalks and I wear more women elegant through the creations of Karl Lagerfeld, who took the baton of the Maison.

Chanel is the first to create a "total look": a lifestyle, better known today as a lifestyle. Coco dresses the process of emancipation of women of the early twentieth century, in the name of freedom of movement and beyond. No more monumental hats and superfluous ornaments, but pure and functional lines. And then comfortable fabrics like jersey and neutral colors: black, white, beige, blue. Many elements are taken from the masculine world: overalls, sailor-style collars, hats with a cap (which recall helmets), suits (derived from uniforms), short haircuts, trousers.

A “poor” fashion, with which Coco also revolutionizes the concept of luxury, as opposed to vulgarity: “I find it shameful that you go around putting millions around your neck, just because you are rich. The function of jewels is not to show that a woman is rich, but to enhance her ”. Hence its highly popular line of jewelery: jewels made of glass, false pearls and artificial stones.
Artificial, for the first time in the history of perfume, is also the famous Chanel N.5: “I don't want any smell of roses and lily of the valley. I want an elaborate perfume. It is a paradox, but on a woman the natural scents of flowers look fake. Perhaps an artificially created perfume will seem natural ”. And so it was, perhaps: in any case, as we know, the essence, contained in a simple square bottle, will have great success and will conquer a band of customers who first scorned scents as reserved for women of dubious virtue.

But the real and undisputed masterpiece of Chanel is the petite robe noire, the little black dress that became so popular as to be defined by Vogue as "the Ford of Chanel": mass-produced and only black, it will become a costume classic, symbol of elegance and luxury. The year was 1924, and even today the little black dress is re-proposed by all the fashion houses in a thousand variations: because "if fashion goes by, the style remains", as Madame Coco loved to repeat.

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