Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel (French, 1883–1971)
Silk, metallic thread
Purchase, Irene Lewisohn Bequest and Catherine Breyer Von Bomel Foundation, Hoechst Fiber Industries, and Chauncy Stillman Gifts, 1984 (1984.30)
The convergence of Art Deco line, the modernist impulse to facilitate pure form, and japonisme's potential to offer a vocabulary of untailored wrapping shapes was more than fortuitous. Chanel uses a French ombré textile with pattern sources from the Japanese kimono, but brings to it the ethos of chaste minimalism. As Western fashion designers discovered from the East that untailored lengths of fabric could constitute modern dress, the cylinder and the textile plane became the new forms for apparel.