Design House: House of Chanel (French, founded 1913)

Designer: Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel (French, Saumur 1883–1971 Paris)

Date: 1938

Culture: French

Medium: silk

Credit Line: Gift of Diana Vreeland, 1954

Accession Number: C.I.54.16.1a, b


This suit made of ruby red silk velvet was inspired by a costume worn to a masquerade party in 1938. Called 'Watteau" and modeled after the dress of the male figure in a painting by Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684–1721), the suit represents a successful melding of contemporary and historical styles. The suit was intended to be worn with a flared floor-length skirt; the original owner, Diana Vreeland (1903–1989), shortened the skirt when the garment was in her personal wardrobe. Chanel herself wore a version of this suit executed in black velvet.