Chanel: Key Collections

Melissa Richards
ISBN 9781566491914 (hardcover)
Published in October 2001
MSRP $35.00
Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel's contribution to 20th-century fashion is immeasurable. An extraordinary character whose luxurious lifestyle was exceeded only by her achievements as a business-woman, she helped change the way women felt about their own bodies and came to represent the independent, modern woman.

Although much has been written about Chanel's often-controversial life, here Melissa Richards focuses on the clothes themselves that have made her the most innovative and influential of all fashion designers. From the earliest days of the garçonne look and the little black dress to the ubiquitous tweed suits and contemporary haute couture, ten major collections are examined in great detail. These range from Chanel's earliest real collection in 1916 to the first ready-to-wear collection, the emergence of Karl Lagerfeld as her torchbearer, and the spirit of the house as it enters the new century. Richards offers commentary not only on the clothes but also on the accessories, jewelery, cosmetics and perfumes of each key collection. She also sketches the moods and trends of the times in which the collections were introduced to help the reader better understand the collection's originality and the reactions they provoked.

Researched and produced with the full cooperation and help of Chanel in Paris, Chanel: Key Collections is a stunning tribute to the glory and vision of the flagship of haute couture, filled with stunning color and b&w illustrations, from reproductions of the earliest Chanel designs to photographs of celebrities and supermodels such as Karl Lagerfeld, Naomi Campbell, Helena Christensen, Linda Evangelista, Kate Moss, and Marilyn Monroe.

MELISSA RICHARDS is an author and fashion historian who writes for the Express newspaper and various magazines. She co-authored the book Decades of Beauty and contributed to another book entitled Key Moments in Fashion. She lives in Gloucestershire, England.