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From Coco Chanel To Hermes Accessories Lead Couture

Mar 22, 2008
When you think of Couture there are some names that need no explanation and epitomize the height of fashion. Coco Chanel is one of these names. When you think of the Chanel brand today , you think of the suit, the perfume, Paris, Grace Kelly, Jacky O. The name conjures images of the beautiful women who have adorned the front covers of the world's magazines wearing designs and accessories from the famous Coco Chanel over nearly a century.

For it was in a modest milliners shop in Paris in 1910 that the designer, christened Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel began her career. Her first dress shop followed shortly afterwards in 1914. Her trademark suit launched in 1923 of short knee length skirt and box jacket was one of many trends set by Chanel in the 20's. She was accredited with 'the little black dress' whose necessity in the closet of every women goes without saying. Hairstyles and handbag styles were also set by designer in pre-war Paris.

In 1939 she closed her shop and it re-opened after the war in 1954. It was not long before she was once again influencing the world of fashion. In 1955 she launched the quilted shoulder bag that took the world by storm. It still remains one of the 'classic' handbags to own. Through the late fifties and sixties Hollywood endorsed her and stars such as Grace Kelly and First Lady Jacky Kennedy would often be seen wearing Chanel.

By her death in 1971 the house of Chanel was firmly established as the hallmark of Parisian couture and the diminutive 'Coco' would be revered for all time as one of the greatest influences in culture and fashion of the twentieth century.

One of the major influences that Coco Chanel made to the fashion world was the introduction of highlighting the importance of accessories. Handbags, Perfumes and jewelery all became part of the overall couture experience. This rise led to other fashion houses of long standing such as Hermes rising to new heights.

Hermes was a family owned business for nearly two hundreds years founded by Thierry Hermes in 1836. Originally a saddlery company Hermes fame grew in the first half of the twentieth century on the back of accessories such as its silk scarves and handbags such as the Constance bag and the Kelly.

The Kelly Bag was, in fact first produced in the 1930's but got its nickname much later in 1956 when the actress come wife of the monarch of Monaco was pictured wearing the bag on the cover of Life magazine. The nickname stuck and the Kelly bag was born.

Of all its bags though, the Birkin has probably retained its popularity and fame the most. Originally designed by a collaboration between the then head of Hermes, John Louis Dumas and , of course, Jane Birkin, the off the shoulder bag is still sported today by the rich and famous such as Sharon Stone, Martha Stewart and most recently Lindsay Lohan. With such a diverse spectrum of admirers the bag cannot fail to continue as one of the most sold accessory items in the world today.
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