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Coco Chanel & Emilio Pucci 1950’s. Sonya Cheema. 50’s Fashion. Coco Chanel.

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Gabrielle Chanel was born August 19, 1883, in Saumur, France. Chanel was raised in an orphanage and taught to sew. She had a brief career as a singer before opening her first clothes shop in 1910. Chanel started out selling hats in her shop and later added stores in Deauville and began making clothes.

  • In the 1920s, Chanel took her thriving business to new heights. She launched her first perfume, Chanel No. 5, which was the first to feature a designer’s name. She later introduced her legendary little black dress and the Chanel suit.
  • Coco Chanel died on January 10, 1971, at her apartment in the Hotel Ritz. A little more than a decade after her death, designer Karl Lagerfeld took the reins at her company to continue the Chanel legacy.

After World War II. Women were no longer designing because men had taken over now that they were back from the war. They started designing fashion that they would like to see on women, rather than what women would feel comfortable wearing – waist cinchers, padded bras, heavy skirts and stiff jackets. Chanel decided to re-enter the fashion world in the 1950s to reinvent womenswear.


In 1954 Chanel decided to start designing again and said,“There are too many men in this business, and they don't know how to make clothes for women. All this fantastic pinching and puffing. How can a woman wear a dress that's cut so she can't lift up her arm to pick up a telephone?"

  • She knew what women wanted, and they responded enthusiastically to her designs. In the 1950s her famous Chanel suit was an enormous hit. She also popularized pea jackets and bell-bottom trousers, as well as jewelry worn with sportswear.

Chanel’s first success was using jersey fabric, a machine knit material manufactured for her. Her suits featured this jersey fabric, a pleated skirt, low heeled shoes, and a belted pullover top. Her jackets featured gold buttons, pockets that could actually hold things (unlike prior designs where pockets were just for show), and they allowed for quick and easy movement.

  • This jersey material worked well because there was a low supply of other fabrics due to the war, and women desired more simple and practical clothing.
  • Her iconic little black dress was made of thin , flowy silk material and had a boyish shape.


Emilio Pucci was born in 1914. Being born into an aristocratic family, he was the first Pucci to actually work in over 1,000 years.

  • He spent two years at Milan University before moving to the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia.
  • Returning to Italy, he spent the war years as a bomber in the Italian Air Force. Pucci was a keen sportsman and as a high school student had been a member of the Italian Olympic ski team.
  • After World War II, in 1947, he was photographed by Toni Frissell of Harper's Bazaar on the Italian ski slopes, wearing ski pants of his own design. The magazine asked him to create some winter clothes for women, which were put on sale in various New York stores.

In 1949, Pucci opened a boutique in Capri, selling the range of his interesting items but especially "Capri Pants" which took the world by storm. In 1951, the first fashion show took place in Florence.

  • During the 50's, Pucci gained a reputation as a designer of brilliantly patterned sportswear and relaxed daywear. He contributed to the success of post-war Italian fashion design. He used silk jersey for his dresses which were light weight, wrinkle free and supremely comfortable.
  • Pucci sold an astonishing array of casual wear, from the new Capri pants to silk dresses, scarves, jumpsuits, and pajamas. His bold use of prints, which featured colors that clashed, made his creations stand out from the other designers of his time.
chanel vs pucci
Chanel vs. Pucci
  • Pucci and Chanel differed greatly in their designs. Chanel was more conservative, classic, and used monotone colors. Pucci’s designs are more sporty, laid back, bright, colorful, and he used patterns. Chanel used detailed embroidery, but rarely any patterns.
  • Chanel went back to designing in the 50s because she wanted to change womenswear to make it more comfortable and something women would be enthusiastic to wear. Pucci started out designing sportswear after his own ski pants were discovered by the news. Pucci is known for his outrageous patterns while Chanel is known for her statement pieces such as the Chanel suit, the little black dress, and her perfume.
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