Coco Chanel: Designing Elegance and Beauty for Women across the World

Essay by rondaheartsyouHigh School, 11th gradeA, October 2008

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The designs of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel were some of the most influential fashions of the 1950s. Before World War II the brand name Chanel was just another high class designer in Europe. Then, during the early forties, the fashion industry all but disappeared as women began to turn in their cashmere sweaters and sparkling brooches for factory suits and nurse uniforms in order to help with the war effort in Europe. Clothing designers around the world were forced to deal with the conflict of attire not being a priority for women anymore. The compromising ideas of Coco Chanel allowed women to bring elegance and femininity back into their wardrobes. Even after her death in 1971, the Chanel industry continued to thrive and still does today.

In the early 1940s, the world of fashion came to a screeching halt as women were forced to sacrifice their elegant collections because of World War II in Europe.

All across Europe there were material shortages on things such as silk, nylon, and elastic. There was also an extreme lack of color due to the fact that chemicals normally used for dying were being used in explosives and other war materials. Women often wore their husband’s clothing, and it was not unusual to pass garments around, so they would not be wasted. The use of the turban also became very popular as to protect woman’s hair from falling into the machinery they were working on in the factories. It was cheap, sensible fashions like this that made it impossible to run a couture line. Chanel was forced to close her salon in Paris, as well as all of her other boutiques immediately after war was declared in France. During these years women lost the femininity and variety that was once found in there clothing before...