Half a century ago, Coco Chanel debuted the black and white flower camellia. Its elegant ability to accessorize the simple, yet chic Chanel-look had people rushing to buy the timeless accessory. On a brief walk around the mall this summer, I couldn’t help but notice bold floral accessories flashing in the windows of stores like J. Crew and Anthropologie. Who would think 50 years later, Chanel’s sophisticated, feminine design aesthetic would still influence the fashions Americans wear today?
Classic Chanel pieces are by definition feminine, chic and simple. Some of these pieces include the “Little Black Dress,” a buttoned overcoat, and a ribboned strand of pearls. Chanel was known to accentuate the woman in the clothes, rather than the clothes on the woman. On my walk around the mall, I was taken aback when I discovered that almost every store carried a simplistic flower headband alongside a beautiful faux strand of pearls. It was like déjà vu. It’s so interesting that years later, these pieces never go out of style.
A few years ago, I went over to visit my grandmother- a notorious collector of various designers with a penchant for Chanel’s designer collection. I watched her clean out her priceless vault of a closet, pulling out old pieces of boucle fabric (a Chanel specialty) and conservative button-up jackets. I remember looking at some of these garments and forwarding picture messages to my friends screaming the word “PUKE” in all caps. The fact that it seemed old and something my grandmother would wear could not be less appealing to me at the tender age of 13. But what I remember most from this visit was the sage fashion advice she chose to impart to what must have appeared to her to be her ungrateful pre-teen granddaughter: “Chanel is timeless;” and that I may “get lucky” should she choose to hand down some of her favorites.