The female suit symbolizes a triumph of contradiction, between sexy and modest, masculine and feminine – and has been considered a symbol of sophistication and elegance among the fashion world.
The first ever tailor-made suit for a female was created by English designer John Redfern in 1885 for the Princess of Wales. Then the infallible Coco Chanel created her eternal, classic version of the suit by borrowing inspiration from her boyfriend’s (Boy Capel) wardrobe. Her suit was first shown in Paris in 1954 and was considered the most influential piece of it’s time and shaped the future of modern women as we know it.
Chanel first designed the suit in 1917 and the fabric was made out of soft jersey cotton. The suit originally consisted of a collarless boxy fit jacket and a slim-line skirt – and was an immediate success among the avant-garde ladies.
In 1954, she then added a few more details to the jacket including, braid trims, patch pockets, gold buttons, a gold-colored chain and a sewn in hem – to ensure the jacket hung properly from the shoulders. She also enhanced the jacket with a new fabric. The tweed – a fabric used for most working class men.
In the 1950s, the skirt was subjected to a longer and slimmer fit, while in the 60’s it transformed into a more A-lined hem. The jacket was once again changed by adding a quilted texture for comfort.
The Chanel suit gained immediate attraction among the post-war modern girls generation, who wanted to create a career in a working field ruled by men. The suit also become a popular rise among celebrities as well. Jackie Kennedy was a huge fan of the Chanel suit, she used to wear it with a pillbox hat. Princess Grace of Monaco was photographed wearing it at a Christmas event with her children. Both Romy Schneider and Elizabeth Taylor wore the Chanel suit both on and off screen.
After almost a century of existence, the Chanel suit continues to be a timeless standard among women and a phenomenon unaffected by the passing of time.