Cocktail dress

Design House House of Chanel French
Designer Gabrielle Chanel French

Not on view

Gabrielle Chanel is the designer most responsible for establishing the modern way of dressing that encompasses comfort, function and simplicity. Since she successfully introduced the concept of the "little black dress" into fashion vocabulary in the 1920s, she returned to the design when she reopened her atelier in 1954.
In this example, finely-shirred chiffon ruffles, a characteristic of Chanel evening wear in the 1930s, have been paired with wide black satin ribbons to create a contrast between glossy and matte textiles. The tiers of ruffles partially veil the applied ribbons, a subtle detail that indicates the garment's couture workmanship. What might have been a severe garment, with its square neckline at the back, is instead transformed into an example of Chanel's masterful "flou."

Cocktail dress, House of Chanel (French, founded 1910), silk, French

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.