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

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

Date: ca. 1927

Culture: French

Medium: silk, metal

Credit Line: Purchase, Irene Lewisohn Bequest and Catharine Breyer Van Bomel Foundation, Hoechst Fiber Industries, in honor of Diana Vreeland, and Chauncy Stillman Gifts, 1984

Accession Number: 1984.30


The convergence of Art Deco line, the modernist impulse to facilitate pure form, and Japonisme's potential to offer a vocabulary of untailored wrapping shapes was more than fortuitous. Chanel uses a French ombré textile with pattern sources from the Japanese kimono but brings to it the ethos of chaste minimalism. As Western fashion designers discovered from the East that untailored lengths of fabric could constitute modern dress, the cylinder and the textile plane became the new forms for apparel.