Chanel & Schiaparelli: Mia's Favorite Designers
Happy Holidays Fashion Fiends! It’s Mia, back for another hot take on fashion. I hope you’re eating well this weekend and rockin those funky holiday fits! :)
Most people don’t know this about me, but before I knew that fashion was a viable career choice for me, I was actually planning on going into Anthropology/Sociology because I'm obsessed with the history of cultures and societies.
So, I’ve decided to talk to y'all about the history of my two favorite designers: Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli.
First things first, we gotta talk about Ms. Coco Chanel. She has what I want; the ability to predict upcoming trends and fashion movements. When she opened her first boutique, her goal was to make clothes to make women feel more comfortable and modern. And because she was a woman of simplicity, her designs were based on the casual elegance of menswear during that time.
When she introduced casual knits and dresses for women, it was the perfect timing because due to war, fashion progressed into more simplistic and casual styles, which means her prediction was absolutely correct, thus making her a leading designer!
She would take into account the cultural and societal environments around her for inspiration. She was inspired to create her little black dress designs for the women who were experiencing post-war grief. Not only did she want them to look elegant while grieving, she also wanted to make them feel better and stronger. She took inspiration from the stiff white collars men and nuns wore because he felt that they were powerful. Chanel used her fashion to give women superiority.
When she started to feel the heat of competition from other big designers, she went a little more out of her androgynous, elegant comfort zone and into a sweet and more colorful elegance, gifting the world with her famous tweed suits.
Her little black dress and her tweed suits were so phenomenal that they just happen to change the way we think about fashion forever.
She was like a fashion psychic for women; she knew what they wanted before they even knew themselves! After Chanel died in the ‘70s, Karl Lagerfeld took over to continue her legacy and made it what we know it today.
Next up is one of Chanel’s rivals, and also one of my favorite designers - Elsa Schiaparelli!
Christian Dior recreated this look for Lady Gaga. It is featured in his exhibit at the SCAD museum.
While Chanel was simple and androgynous, Schiaparelli was feminine and playful and was even the first person to design a ladies evening jacket! Her couture house was founded on three sweaters made by her Armenian refugee neighbor. In the beginning she sold hats, scarves, and accessories, quickly working her way into designing evening dresses and high fashion.
In my personal opinion, Schiaps is cool AF. She was the first couture designer to make high fashion funny and amusing. She would sometimes use “wrong” fabrics and unorthodox designs basically just to piss people off and make people talk about her.
She was also involved in a lot of artist circles which inspired a lot of her designs. One of her friends was Salvador Dali, whom I love and grew up going to his museum. Her designs were inspired by all of the artistic movements like cubism and surrealism which really made her designs stand out!
Schiaparelli’s career really started taking off when she started designing extravagant costuming for actors/actresses in Hollywood. In fact, While Dali was working with Chanel, Schiap’s designs on Mae West caught his eye so he made his lips couch inspired by Mae’s lips.
When Dali tried to give the couch to Schiaparelli, she declined because the couch was red, not pink. How ICONIC is that?!!
Mae West in Elsa Schiaparelli
Schiaparelli also died in the ‘70s leading her brand to become Maison Schiaparelli, originally a couture house overseen by Elsa, but is now the brand as we know it today. This gorgeous ivory suit is giving me some major Schiap vibes!
Alright y’all, I better stop now before I write a whole book. I hope you enjoyed my take on these two lovely ladies and their claim to fame! I will continue this as a series throughout my next blogs so stay tuned for our weekly posts!
Keep struttin’ your stuff, babes!
XOXO Your fabulous friend Mia