Chanel, 1953

Chanel makes a costume change while in conversation with Ms. Carmel Snow

By 1947 Chanel found herself lost on the Paris radar, not merely because she was a suspect of Nazi collaboration, or that she had closed her business at the onset of the war, but because Dior’s New Look and Balenciaga’s OCD tailoring had made her simple and easy aesthetic démodé. Her comeback in 1953 was panned by an audience inundated with neurotic and exorbitant seasonal shifts in silhouette and hemlines, for them her clothes were anachronistic and that was the greatest bane to people desperately trying to outpace the past. Yet by the end of the decade, when fashion would address modernism for the first time since Chanel had introduced the idea in the teen’s, her look had caught on and it was Chanel’s post war designs that would go on to define the dress (not fashions) of the next two decades as it had 40 years before.

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