Coco Chanel’s designs still continue to fascinate us today and have lost nothing of their appeal, simply because they have both a timeless look and iconic fashion status. Chanel, always the innovator and never the fashion follower, has left behind her legacy of quilted bags, little black dresses and famous CC logo for generations of fashion lovers to discover. To celebrate one of our favourite designers and her fashion legacy, we have selected our top ten most iconic Chanel designs.

The 2.55 quilted bag

The 2.55 handbag was originally issued in February 1955, hence the name.  The bag’s lining is done in brown, reminiscent of the colour of the uniform Chanel wore in the convent where she grew up. The little pocket on the backside is where Chanel stashed extra money while the shoulder strap is said to have been inspired by the orphanage’s caretakers key chain. The bag’s front lock, which  is different from the classic double CC logo, is called ‘the Mademoiselle Lock’  as Miss Chanel was never married.

chanel no 5

Chanel No 5

Chanel No 5 was the first Chanel fragrance and has been on sale continuously since its introduction in 1921. It has been described as ‘the world’s most legendary fragrance’ and remains the company’s most famous perfume. It is estimated that a bottle is sold worldwide every 55 seconds.

Coco said about the perfume “I want to give women an artificial perfume,yes, I really do mean artificial, like a dress, something that has been made. I don’t want any rose or lily of the valley, I want a perfume that is a composition.”

pearlsFaux pearls

In 1924 Chanel launched her first line of costume jewellery. Her collection was described by Harper’s Bazzar as ‘one of the most revolutionary designs of our time’.

The most recognizable pieces are the pearl necklaces, sometimes interspersed with other glass or crystal beads, which remain a timeless classic.

The little black dress

This staple piece is as popular now as it was back in 1926 when it was introduced by Chanel. It was designed with the intent to be a simple cut that was versatile, everlasting and affordable. In its first guise it was cut in black crepe with a high neckline, long fitted sleeves and a hemline that stopped just above the knee.

American Vogue christened it as ‘the Ford’ like Henry Ford’s model-T car as it was immensely popular, widely available and only in black.


The tweed suit

By the Twenties Chanel was simplifying dress with her innovative forward looking ideas on female clothes.  She borrowed items normally worn by men and translated them into pared down stylish female fashion, making simple jersey and tweed suits.  However in the Fifties and Sixties she translated tweed into a high fashion suit that looked modern and contrasted with the fuller dress designs and over-structured suits designed by Dior.

Chanel used a range of tweeds and fine textured wool boucle and poodle fabrics.  The collarless jackets became so associated with her name that we now refer to the style as a Chanel jacket.  Inside her jackets were lined with contrast silk which was the same silk she usually used for the blouse that teamed with it.  The insides were weighted with gold chain and the buttons all stamped on the back with the Chanel symbol.  Edges were trimmed with braids, velvet or ribbon.

Yachting trousers

Chanel not only adapted men’s tweed suits to female designs but also sailors’ bell-bottoms. Her yachting trousers, which she paired with knitted cardigans, were part of her innovative sportswear designs and gave women the freedom to move around unrestricted by skirts and corsets.


Burberry_mode_large_qualite_ukThe Breton top

In the Thirties Chanel designed and wore a striped top with yachting pants. It has never been out of fashion since.

Quilt-stitched ballet flats

Timeless and simple, the classic Chanel ballet flats are made of lambskin leather, feature a rounded toe design and have the CC logo embroidered in the front.

Chanel logo

The Chanel logo was designed in 1925 by Coco Chanel herself and has remained unchanged ever since. It turned out to be one of the most recognizable symbols in the fashion world with its overlapping double ‘C’ – one facing forward and the other facing backward.


Two-tone design


Chanel despised the frilly, over the top designs of the belle epoque and favoured simple, black and white designs instead. Her two-tone colour scheme still features in the famous Chanel ballet flats, tights and current Chanel collections designed by Karl Lagerfeld.

4 Responses

  1. A.E.B.

    Yachting trousers… a timeless classic that has been a stable part of my wardrobe for many many years. And the scent of Chanel No 5… there’s nothing quite like it.

  2. Lindy Hopper

    A fascinating woman, and not always loved by the french. She took a German officer as a lover during ww2. For me her greatest legacy is the little black dress. I can’t think of any woman I know who doesn’t have at least one LBD in her wardrobe!

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  4. elisabeth

    I am trying to find an example of a chanel suit that I can have my dressmaker use. Any suggestions/