All You Need To Know About The Iconic Chanel Jacket
1/5 Interesting origin
The romantic tale of the Chanel jacket began in the early '20s when Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel met the dashing Duke of Westminster, Hugh Grosvenor. Their relationship led to her fascination with the Duke's hunting wardrobe and classic tweed suits.
Chanel then fashioned for herself a jacket made from the traditional Scottish textile that was originally meant for menswear but made it suppler for comfort. She boasted: "It was me in fact who taught the Scots to make lighter tweeds."
2/5 Beautiful signature details
Observed closely and the details of the jacket reveal why this is such an iconic fashion item. First, it obeys Chanel's own rule that "the elegance of clothing comes with the freedom to move." The cut of the garment is structured, straight and fastened edge to edge with the lining panels and the tweed panels seamlessly stitched together.
To ensure a perfect drop to the silhouette, a brass chain is sewn into the lining of the jacket's hem. The buttons are like jewels—created from metal, resin or galalith, and branded with the emblematic lion's head, the white camellia, a sheath of wheat or the signature double C.
3/5 Timeless icon
The arrival of Karl Lagerfeld as the head of Chanel in 1983 brought undeniable changes to the Parisian house. In 1985, the kaiser who was known for his modern style and flair for reinventions had transformed the Chanel jacket by stripping away its formality and pairing it with denim and sporty tops. In his own words: "There are some things that never go out of fashion—jeans, a white shirt and a Chanel jacket."
The late Lagerfeld experimented with volumes and proportions; his successor Virginie Viard continued this legacy. Adorned with contemporary touches, it's easy to imagine the jacket belonging in the wardrobe of every woman.
(Related: Chanel Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2019: Virginie Viard's First Couture Collection)
There are some things that never go out of fashion—jeans, a white shirt and a Chanel jacket
4/5 Versatile allure
Whether it's summer or winter, the jacket is a staple on Chanel's ready-to-wear runway due to its versatile allure. At the spring/summer 2020 show, Viard extended the form of the short jacket into playful jumpsuits and refined pleated dress. In unleashing the fluidity of the garment, it's worn with Bermuda shorts or a flared skirt.
Viard was notably inspired by jockey silks worn by the jockey who rode Chanel's racehorse, Romantica. This influence can be seen in the fall/winter 2020 collection where the tweed suits debuted a new look—sleek press studs that according to Viard, "adds a more lively gesture."
5/5 Couture chic
The exclusive Chanel Métiers d’art collection is a beautiful merger of art and fashion, and its most recent 2020 show features key pieces with the Chanel jacket in two tones. Viard also reinterpreted the design with tie-dye versions inspired by a tweed suit in gradient pink created by Gabrielle Chanel in 1960.
Making a great case for the jacket as a garment of wearable art, a jacket was buttoned down at the side and overlayed with a majestic patchwork embroidery composed of more than 23,000 multicolour sequins.
(Related: Step Inside A Chanel Métiers D'Art, Where Haute Couture Magic Happens)