How Coco Chanel changed the course of women’s fashion

Written by Marianna Cerini

Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel was one of the 20th century’s most influential couturiers. A milliner by training, she moved beyond hats to become a rebel and a trailblazer of the fashion world, creating a new sartorial style that freed women from corsets and lace frills by offering them sailor shirts and wide-leg pants instead.

“Nothing is more beautiful than freedom of the body,” she once said, and her designs lived by these words: Chanel’s silhouettes were fluid and androgynous, her designs loose and — in the case of her iconic little black dress, or LBD — democratic. She wanted women to move and breathe in her clothes, just like men did in theirs. Her work was, in many ways, a form of female emancipation.

Sunday marks 50 years since Chanel’s death, aged 87, though her legacy endures. As well as revolutionizing how we dress, she helped form

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Blake Lively in Sequined Chanel Couture

Featuring a ring of flowers at the hip!

There are perfectly good celebrity style moments, and then there are the looks that really stick with you, the ones you try desperately to recreate at home. In ‘Great Outfits in Fashion History,’ Fashionista editors are revisiting their all-time favorite lewks.

I hate to say it, but we’re about to enter that tricky time of year where summer is ending — or even, (again, sorry!) technically over — but it’s still pretty warm. You want to dress in all your pumpkin-spice, sweater-and-boot-weather glory, but the temperatures won’t cooperate. What to do?

Copy Blake Lively, of course! The actor is constantly landing herself on best-dressed lists with her self-styling prowess, so why not, right? For this occasion, I’m specifically thinking of the oxblood-red dress Lively wore to the premiere of “The Town” at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival.

One

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