As a symbol of Chanel's style and elegance, the jacket takes its place as one of the House’s icons. Endlessly desirable and reinvented with each season, its modernity and apparent simplicity make it an indispensable item in any woman’s wardrobe.
Conceived by Mademoiselle Chanel in the 1950s and inspired by Austrian jackets for men, this tailored jacket, when combined with a skirt reaching just below the knee line, became Chanel’s classic suit. In direct contrast to the tight, restricting styles of the 1950s, this suit offers complete freedom of movement.
This suit jacket in tweed - one of Mademoiselle Chanel’s favourite fabrics - is straight and structured, buttoned up edge-to-edge and conceived to fit like a second skin, without shoulder pads and stiffening which would only bring it rigidity.
To achieve suppleness while maintaining shape, the fabric is put together on the straight grain without any darts on the bust line. The same for the back with just a simple seam down the middle. A vertical panel on the sides joins the jacket’s front to the back. The sleeves are cut on the straight grain and are attached at the top of the shoulder. They are slightly angled at the elbow, so as to take on the line of the arm and move easily with it, providing perfect comfort.
Mademoiselle Chanel was greatly attached to this freedom of movement and took her customers’ measurements with their arms crossed on the shoulders.
Braiding outlines the jacket’s shape, the edge of the pockets and sleeves, strengthening its graphic quality.
The pockets are positioned, so that the woman may slide her hands inside them, something seen as a relatively masculine gesture in Mademoiselle Chanel’s day.
Jewelled buttons stamped with lion heads (Mademoiselle Chanel’s star sign was leo), ears of wheat and double 'C' emblems button the jacket up. To this model, Mademoiselle Chanel would add Baroque-style costume jewellery, a 2.55 bag, two-toned shoes, and maybe a camellia from among the accessories that marked her style.
Today, this jacket has become one of Chanel’s icons, and with each season it receives a new lease on life in the hands of Karl Lagerfeld, but even if its proportions and materials change, the principles of its construction remain identical.
Guangzhou Opera House
No 1, Zhujiang Xi Lu, Zhujiang New Town, Tianhe District,
510623 Guangzhou, China
Opening hours: 10am-7pm Monday to Sunday
January 16 - March 3, 2013
© Photo Marie Liszkay