Coco Chanel was against the mini. She considered women's legs ugly, and short dresses and skirts - indecent.

Coco Chanel brought the little black dress into fashion, so sometimes she is mistakenly credited with the authorship of miniskirts. But Chanel could not come up with them, because she could not stand the mini in any form.

Gabrielle Chanel at her house on rue Cambon in Paris
Gabrielle Chanel at her house on rue Cambon in Paris
Gabrielle Chanel at her house on rue Cambon in Paris

Big black dress

Chanel's little black dress was "small" only in comparison with the maxi length, which was ubiquitous at that time and was considered the only decent one. She introduced the fashion for a comfortable midi dress that showed the ankles and calves, but always hid the knees. This was the length that Chanel celebrated in her collections until her death.

1926 Chanel little black dress
1926 Chanel little black dress
1926 Chanel little black dress

From women to dolls

The last years of Chanel's life were marked by a struggle with the ubiquitous mini, the fashion for which was enthusiastically picked up by fashion designers. The 1950s celebrated the feminine hourglass silhouette, which Christian Dior recalled in 1947 with his revolutionary New Look trend with wasp waist and bell skirt. But any fashion rarely spans more than one decade.

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In 1956, the film "Baby Doll" (Baby Doll) was released, the heroine of which wore outfits similar to children's dresses. Both women and designers saw the potential in this image, and they gradually began to abandon the classic fitted silhouettes with a fluffy skirt. So fashionable dresses lost their waist, and the length rose to the level of the hips.

The silhouette of a woman's outfit in the late 50s lost the waist and length
The silhouette of a woman's outfit in the late 50s lost the waist and length

In the 60s, the image of a woman, personifying a generation, changed. From now on, it was no longer curvaceous Hollywood star with exciting forms like Marilyn Monroe, Ava Gardner or Elizabeth Taylor. The industry glorified the image of the "reed" Twiggy, because such figures were the perfect "hangers" for clothes.

Elizabeth Taylor, among other stars, personified female beauty in the 50s. The face of the 60s was the British model Twiggy
Elizabeth Taylor, among other stars, personified female beauty in the 50s. The face of the 60s was the British model Twiggy

Mini is disgusting

Chanel, who herself once made a fashion revolution, loudly protested against this trend. She spoke frankly about this in her legendary 1969 video interview.

“For the last two years I have been fighting with all the couturiers about these short dresses. I consider them indecent. To show the knees, they must be perfect. This is a "bulge". It's like showing off your elbows. It's like walking all over and saying: "Look how beautiful my elbows are!" This is terrible. When I go into restaurants, men look at me and applaud because I am against showing knees. Because it's awful, it's pointless, and it's almost never pretty."

Chanel has always insisted on moderation and elegance in the female image, in which nothing should stand out, loudly declaring itself. She emphasized that the female body is designed by nature for the birth of children, so it does not have to be an ideal model. But to put something on display, drawing attention to it, she considered unacceptable.

Actress Romy Schneider at Chanel's costume fitting that transformed her style
Actress Romy Schneider at Chanel's costume fitting that transformed her style

Deficit of beautiful legs

“I have nothing against knees as long as they are beautiful. But if you stand all day on the Rue Cambon, you will hardly find a woman with good legs. We never thought that they have such bad legs, knees are too thick, purple. This is terrible! And I think that if you expose everything for show, then you don’t want anything anymore. If you are presented with your favorite dish after you have been force-fed, you will refuse it on the same day. That's how it is here."

Chanel passed away in January 1971. During her lifetime, it was impossible to imagine a Chanel collection with a suit that combined a jacket with a miniskirt. Today it has become the norm for the brand. The modern collections of Chanel serve the interests of their young clients, greedy for "heavy luxury" with history. Even if he doesn't suit them.

Outfits from the Chanel spring-summer 2022 collections
Outfits from the Chanel spring-summer 2022 collections

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