Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Susie Beame Post 5 - Wearable Design



Gabrielle Bonheur "Coco" Chanel (19 August 1883 – 10 January 1971) was a pioneering French fashion designer whose modernist philosophy, menswear-inspired fashions, and pursuit of expensive simplicity made her an important figure in 20th-century fashion.

The young Chanel spent seven years in the orphanage of the Roman Catholic monastery of Aubazine, where she learned the trade of a seamstress.  When Coco turned eighteen, she left the orphanage, and took up work for a local tailor.

While working at a tailoring shop Chanel began designing hats as a hobby, which soon became a deeper interest of hers. Her hats were worn by celebrated French actresses, which helped to establish her reputation. In 1913, Chanel introduced women’s sportswear at her new boutique in Deauville.  More women during the World War I era came to accept her view that women were supposed to dress for themselves and not their men.

In 1923, Coco Chanel said to Harper's Bazaar that "Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance." Coco Chanel always kept the clothing she designed simple, comfortable and revealing. Unlike most designers in that europe, she kept the woman inside the clothes at the center of her creations. "I gave women a sense of freedom; I gave them back their bodies: bodies that were drenched in sweat, due to fashion's finery, lace, corsets, underclothes, padding." She took what were considered poor fabrics like jersey and upgraded them. Chanel's style is popularly associated with the image of the 1920s flapper, a "new breed" of self-confident young women that challenged the established concept of socially acceptable behavior. The flappers demonstrated their independence through new looks and attitude, such as short skirts and haircuts, openly using cosmetics, and being seen to smoke and drink cocktails. Compared to previous generations of women the flappers also showed an increased level of activity, pursuing athletic sports, driving their own automobiles, and going out to nightclubs where they could listen to jazz music and do energetic dances such as the Charleston.

         
In 1922 Coco Chanel introduced a perfume, Chanel No. 5, which became and remained popular, and remains a profitable product of Chanel's company.



Coco Chanel introduced her signature cardigan jacket in 1925 and signature "little black dress" in 1926. Most of her fashions had a staying power, and didn't change much from year to year -- or even generation to generation.




Alannah Hill (born 1963) is an Australian fashion designer, well known in Australia and internationally for her "girly chic" fashion label and boutique chain.
Hill was born in Tasmania, but spent much of her childhood in the coastal town of Penguin, where her parents owned a milk bar. She moved to Hobart at 15, running away to join Ashton's Circus, and at the age of 17, moved to Melbourne, Victoria.
Hill worked in Melbourne as a stylist on film and video clips, eventually landing a small role in the 1987 film Dogs in Space starring Michael Hutchence. Whilst waitressing in a cafe, she was offered a job at a fashion store (Indigo) in Chapel Street, South Yarra, where she worked for fifteen years, before starting her own fashion design label in 1996.
She opened her first boutique in 1997, and has thrived on a niche for fashioning feminine fabrics (floral georgettes, glossy satins and sugary satins) and melodramatic morsels of frippery (decadent beading, oversized floral corsages) into sugary sweet confections that have spawned a cult following here and overseas.


Today Alannah heads her own booming and lucrative empire, the idiosyncratic and intensely feminine Alannah Hill label. With nine opulent and enticing boutiques throughout Australia and sequins galore, her rise and rise is a success story of the old Hollywood variety.
She is a testament to what tenacity, natural talent and a glamorous dream can do for a girl.

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