Of the many contributions to fashion that the 1950’s made, the Chanel suit is one that truly embodies the bourgeois lives of the upwardly mobile in post-war America. But there is one specific example that makes the Chanel suit so iconic and that example is Jackie Kennedy’s pink and navy suit.
The 22nd November will mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, 35th president of the United States; An event that shocked the world and placed Jackie O’s infamous pink Chanel suit firmly in the annals of public consciousness.
Before the day of the shooting, Kennedy had said to his wife “Be simple – show these Texans what good taste really is.” Modest in cut and demure in hue, her two-piece, pink Chanel skirt-suit was emblematic of the period, a picture of elegance, taste and innocence – sexy, without being overt.
The Chanel suit has left an indelible mark on the face of fashion. It is no longer the preserve of the elite and in the midst of the expanded market can be found for a fraction of its original cost.
In its current incarnation the Chanel suit is experiencing a revival on the high street through the use of its trademark boucle wool fabric. Rather than featuring in two-piece outfits, the boucle effect is now chosen as a statement piece used in peplum tops, skirts and in short, cropped jackets that echo the original design structure. Though the silhouette of the suit has changed over the years with changing trends and fashions, the principle remains the same. Simple, ladylike and oozing with femininity and class, the boucle fabric creates texture in otherwise dull ensembles.
Other aspects of Chanel’s seminal apparel are still hugely on-trend this season. The signature embellishment of large, gold buttons is being incorporated into the military vogue and making a comeback in the form of weather-appropriate double-breasted coats. Gold buttons add a touch of put-together sophistication to any outfit, drawing the eye and adding interest. Lastly the inclusion of a contrast trim in suede or leather is a major fashion must this season, being seen on bags, coats and even t-shirts, creating linear structure and a stylish edge.
Coco Chanel said, “Fashion fades, only style remains the same”, in the case of her trademark Chanel suit the saying certainly holds true and we can expect to see it influencing our style for decades to come.