I’m still having dart issues, I can’t seem to quite get any of my dress bodices to behave themselves, and I am on the hunt for a new sewing machine. Yet! Yet, I am still consumed by my white whale: the Chanel jacket. I’ve been thinking about it, though. I really love the classic Chanel jackets of the 60s, but what of the actual suits? I love them, love them. Not all of them have the signature boxy shape, bouclé/tweed, trim-to-the-hilt look. Karl Lagerfeld (our dear leader) has done an amazing job, but I don’t think very much can compare to the suits in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute’s archives.
Behold this gem from Mrs. Lewis Lapham:
Where’s the wool? There isn’t any! It’s silk. All, all silk. Aren’t the pocket marvelous? Granted, I am a famous pocket abuser, so those wouldn’t quite last a day of use, but still! I especially love the ribbony trim and the sleeve length. I think this could be recreated without too much anxiety. (Let me alone with my delusions!) There’s a skirt, too, but I think that the jacket completely outshines it.
What about this guy?
I was looking at it and thinking that it had to be bouclé, but a quick glance over at the medium tab reveals that it is made of silk, plastic, straw, and metal. Metal chain, silk fabric, plastic shiny stuff, but straw? My favorite thing is that it doesn’t actually look like a suit. I’m not wild about the bow, as I think I’d look gift-wrapped, but the rest of it could totally pass for a dress. I am all. for. the short-sleeved suit.
This is from the fifties. I don’t think it looks too dated now, but am not sure how well I can handle a double-breasted suit with what looks like bracelet (or maybe 3/4) sleeves. I have to admit, I’m totally enamored by the idea. The blouse underneath it is to die for, though. Observe:
That, I’m definitely dying to make.
But this one looks pretty classic Chanel, you say. It is wool bouclé, and it is boxy, but there is absolutely no trim. This really appeals to me. Also, see the pockets? They’re on the diagonal, which is fabulous.
Of the suits above, I’ve decided to choose the two I’m mostly likely to make and wear in the fall. I think I’m still young enough to get away with the double-breasted—youthful insouciance and all that. The navy is just far too much for me to pass up. Naturally, the fabric comes before anything (including the skill and the pattern), so I’ve scoured the stores to see if anything matches up. I’ve got a handful.
[This used to be an image of a badass collage. Unfortunately, it was eaten during the Squarespace conversion. However, I have this placeholder until I figure this out. So sorry!]
The double-breasted suit would look really great in one of these gray tweeds from Mood. The Oscar de la Renta at the top particularly speaks to me. The navy is a bit trickier. I once had a swatch of tropical-weight, basketweave wool from Gorgeous Fabrics (it still haunts my dreams), and I think it would make up a beautiful suit. Unfortunately, it has long sold out, and the above have to do the job. The top two are from Gorgeous Fabrics (and 25% off as of this writing) and the one on the bottom is an Oscar de la Renta bouclé from Mood. One day we will discuss my obsession with OdlR. Until then, we shall fantasize about Chanel.
All clothing images are from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A quick advanced search for Gabrielle Chanel will do the trick. The fabric images are from their respective vendors (Gorgeous and Mood). The sucky Photoshop was done by yours truly. The end.