Was Gabrielle Chanel One of Fashion's First Feminists?

| By: Couture USA

Was Gabrielle Chanel One of Fashion's First Feminists?
She pioneered pants and knitwear, and was committed to giving women freedom of movement. She liberated women from corsets in the post World War I era, changed the course of fashion again after World War II. And yes, she was undoubtedly a feminist. Today marks the 46th anniversary of Gabrielle Chanel's death. She opened her first store in 1910, and continued to have an illustrious career until her death at 88 years old. Here are some fun facts about our favorite fashion feminist:

Chanel freed us up by inventing long shoulder straps for handbags.

She rightly believed that the short strapped minaudière bags of the early 1900s were too cumbersome and fussy, so she invented chain link shoulder straps so that women could be hands-free.

Chanel was one of the first female fashion designers to give herself a logo.

She invented the CC logo early in her career, but she didn't put it on her original bags. The CC wasn't added to the Flap bag until Karl Lagerfeld took over in 1983.  
 

Gabrielle Chanel fought hard against restrictive and uncomfortable shapewear.

After World War II, fashion changed and the nostalgic corseted New Look dominated fashion. Chanel hated it and thought it was a step backwards for women. Gabrielle Chanel created her tweed suits as a reaction to the New Look. She wanted to create something that looked pulled together without requiring boning or corsetry.  
 

Chanel overcame some major criticism.

Her tweed suits were initially a flop and were panned in the press. Shortly afterwards though, critics were proven wrong when the suits started flying off retail racks. She had legions of doubters, but her infallible notions of how women wanted to dress proved to be right on. And in the end isn't that all we can hope for? That we live long enough to see all of our naysayers proven wrong?   Here's to you Gabrielle, and thank you for forging new paths in women's fashion.     Feature image cropped from photo uploaded by Flickr user Francesca Romana Correale

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