‘Some people think luxury is the opposite of poverty,’ said Coco Chanel. ‘It is not. It is the opposite of vulgarity.’
There are few better representations of Chanel’s vision of luxury than her classically timeless little black jacket. Launched in 1954, as part of a post-war comeback collection, the short, boxy tweed jacket has come to represent everything that is quintessentially Chanel. Inspired by menswear, Chanel neglected the corseted female silhouettes and made something traditionally masculine, a renowned feminine piece. Karl Lagerfeld and ex-editor in chief of French Vogue, Carine Roitfeld, have paid homage to this classic with an exhibition in London’s much acclaimed Saatchi Gallery. A showcase for the jacket’s versatility, the exhibition hosts a display of Lagerfeld’s stunning photographs featuring many reputable celebrities wearing the little black jacket in their own individual way.
Classically photographed in black and white, in a very Chanel-esque fashion, each image exudes class and style. Catwalk queens such as Georgia May Jagger and style icons like Alexa Chung grace many of the canvases with their captivating poses but other images feature celebrities less attached to the fashion world. Hip hop superstar Kanye West, French actor Romain Duris and three year old Hudson Kroenig all make appearances and despite wearing the exact same jacket, the final photographs look completely different. The message is simple; this jacket can be worn by one and all.
As Chanel’s much-quoted adage ‘fashion passes, style remains’ implies, she wanted to create clothing that would be worn forever. The little black jacket exhibition celebrates the timelessness of her designs and shows that the jacket lives on as a versatile classic and a symbol of feminine elegance.
Words by: Louisa Davies