A love letter to Lagerfeld: how Chanel has influenced feminist fashion and why every woman needs a 2.55 bag
It’s been a while since I’ve posted (why does it feel like I’ve been starting every post like this lately?) but this time it’s been for a very good reason: I’ve been working hard on realising exactly what kind of content I want to create and share with you all.
I rebranded as Styled by Alice a few months ago as I wanted to use my website as a wider platform for my business, but also so I could really hone in on creating the style guide-type content that I enjoy so much. However, I’ve missed writing prose with more substance, as well as the personal touch that I think most blog readers enjoy.
The past few months have also been transformative in terms of my own style and attitude to fashion, and I want to continue with this in mind. So, while I’ll always love keeping on top of the latest trends, I want to create style content that inspires you to wear what you love, while sharing my own explorations into a more ethical approach to fashion.
So – long-winded intro over! With this new approach in mind, I thought what better way to kickstart than with a love letter to the late Karl Lagerfeld, and the house of Chanel? Chanel was instrumental to helping me determine my own style in my early teens, but many people don’t realise the literally world-changing impact Chanel’s founder, Gabrielle ‘Coco’, had on womenswear.
This Chanel-style co ord is from Shein. You can get 15% this (and everything else on Shein) with code alicec15. Yay! The bag is genuine Chanel, and the pearls are from eBay.
Coco Chanel and her impact on women’s fashion
Everyone has heard of Chanel. But this is not just another fashion house: Coco Chanel’s now timeless designs were not only groundbreaking but used fashion to empower women. That’s pretty cool.
From introducing trousers as a style staple for women, to bringing jersey fabric to the masses, and relabelling black as a colour of mourning to one of sophistication, it’s likely you too have felt the impact of Coco Chanel on your wardrobe (even if, like me, you can’t afford any of the label’s garments).
The house of Chanel not only redefined style: it empowered women with its clothing designed to be practical and comfortable. Coco realised that women could look good and get shit done at the same time, rather than remain the pretty doll-like caricatures previous eras had painted them as. Her designs were sexy and sophisticated, yet always kept women in the driving seat.
My favourite Chanel invention is the women’s shoulder bag. Yes, seriously. Before Coco us gals were limited by clutches, so Chanel decided to change that, and the iconic 2.55 chain-strapped bag was born. While this must surely be one of the most widely imitated bags of all time, a genuine 2.55 bag is considered a serious investment according to luxury resale site Collector’s Square, as they retain their value more than any other bag. Not that I’d ever sell a 2.55 if I could afford one!
How Karl Lagerfeld changed the style game
So now we get to Lagerfeld (I hope you’re enjoying your history lesson, folks). My first shout-out to Lagerfeld is in celebration of the fact that he was one of the first designers to work on a freelance basis. It’s common now, but Lagerfeld was a true pioneer in this field. I like pioneers. He was also an extremely talented photographer, who shot several of the Chanel campaigns. Lagerfeld embodied true genius, with his multi-media, multi-talented approach to fashion.
If, as I do, you enjoy the classic Chanel traits of bold tweed, ribbon chains on eeeerything, bold costume jewellery, and even the trend for designer perfume, you mostly likely have Lagerfeld to thank. Carrying on from Coco’s legacy, he took the fashion house into the mainstream and turned it into the household name and enduring style icon that Chanel is today. Lagerfeld also created Chanel’s interlocking CC logo. Yes, that much-copied emblem only came to life in the 1980s, and has become one of the most iconic logo in fashion ever.
Despite Chanel’s lofty price tags and high calibre clientelle, Lagerfeld was no fashion snob. He was the first designer to collaborate with H&M, and his own Karl Lagerfeld line is reasonably priced for entry-level luxury. Ultimately, whether you’re a high fashion fan or not, Lagerfeld has somehow helped to influence your perception of style and glamour.
I was gifted the co ord in this post. However, all thoughts are my own.