House of Chanel (French, founded 1913)
Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel (French, Saumur 1883–1971 Paris)
[no dimensions available]
Gift of Miss Isabel Shults, 1944
Not on view
With the introduction of her couture shop to the Parisian fashion radar in 1914, Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel did not adhere to the exoticist constructive details or extravagant surface elaborations of many of her peers, but seemingly created an entirely new female fashion persona. Governed by an alternative modernism, her oeuvre catered to idyllic comfort and moveability, while her finishing techniques and intentionally ostentatious accessory items provided the Parisian upper classes a fashionable exclusivity. Streamlining both silhouette and texture, Chanel's eveningwear was as elegant as her daytime designs were practical.
This gown and matching evening cape, constructed from Chanel's signature black silk crêpe and embellished with combed ostrich feathers, embodies the fluid movement and elegance equally suitable for the 1930s dance hall and the private cocktail party.
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