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1883 - 1971

Born in a Saumur, France and nicknamed “Coco.”  She started designing millinery in 1909, and in 1913 opened her house at Rue Cambon. In 916, she presented innovative, functional suits made out of jersey, a cheap material which at the time was normally used for underwear. She firmly established a new active and functional concept of elegance, adapting elements from men’s wear. Chanel, who herself was slim and had her hair cut short in a boyish style, greatly influenced fashion circles as a garçonne, the new image of an active woman after World War 1.  After closing her house during World War II, she returned to fashion circles at the age of 71.  “The Chanel suit,” which was a big hit worldwide in the 1960s, reestablished Chanel’s reputation and is now regarded as an icon of 20th centruy women’s clothing. After her death in 1971, Karl Lagerfeld came to the house as a chief designer and another global Chanel boom took place.

Fashion: The Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute : a History from the 18th to the 20th Century

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