The Fabric That Defined Chanel

The Fabric That Defined Chanel

The Fabric That Defined Chanel

-By Shambhavi

The Chanel Tweed suit is the most iconic fabric used in couture. We automatically associate tweed with luxury, elegance, and femininity. It is the fabric that is synonymous with the House of Chanel. The now feminine fabric was ironically inspired by the Duke of Westminster, who was involved with the brand's founder Coco Chanel. She stumbled upon the fabric when she asked to borrow the Duke’s sportswear made of the same.

On realizing the comfort and sophistication of the fabric, she began designing a collection of clothing using the fabric and menswear in general. In 1924, she employed a Scottish manufacturer to produce the fabric for multiple clothing pieces, such as sportswear, suits, and coats. Initially, the colors were inspired by the lush Scottish countryside, using earth tones and hues.

Ina Claire’s brown suit of the fabric brought it to media attention. Overnight, the fabric started trending and rose infinitely in popularity. This new trend prompted Chanel to move her manufacturing to France in the ’30s. She also started experimenting with the fabric, combining classic tweeds with other fabrics like silk, wool, and cotton.

The suit withstood the test of time and has remained a symbol of feminine liberation since the 20s. it has been worn by the world’s most fashionable women, from Princess Diana and Brigitte Bardot. Jackie Kennedy famously wore a Pink Chanel tweed suit set, when JFK was assassinated.

This tweed is the backbone of the Chanel atelier. Coco Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld both heavily used tweed during their tenures at the fashion house. The piece is so versatile, it is more accessory than clothing, it compliments any mood and any occasion. The luxurious fabric, today, is worn with leather, denim and even acrylic fabrics, and has evolved from its classic two-piece suit roots to modern jumpsuits, bags and evening gowns.

American Vogue came out with an article titled "Scottish Tweed is a New Godchild of French Couturiers". Chanel became famous for utilizing cheap and non-glamourous materials used in traditional Male attire for bright and vibrant suits for women that only highlighted feminine features. Tweed came into vogue based on the simple idea that nothing showcased a woman’s femininity than menswear. She came upon one of the fashion industry’s greatest discoveries by taking inspiration from the many men in her life.

This fabric marks the milestone in her career and became the most recognizable fabric ever produced.