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