*Little Black Jacket sometimes referred to as the LFJ or Little French Jacket
I’ve been obsessed by Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, her life, her esthetic and her contribution to the cultural evolution of the twentieth century for a very long time. The closest I’ve ever come to owning Chanel is a bottle of Coco Noir perfume and a caviar-leather vintage Chanel handbag which I guard with my life! I have never owned a single piece of Chanel clothing – probably mainly because of the price-tag. But that doesn’t stop me from coveting the esthetic and considering why her world has intersected with mine – at least with my imagination which it fires almost daily.
Sometime over the past winter I began to become obsessed by the Chanel jacket. So, like you do, I decided to re-create it for myself using couture sewing techniques that I would learn as I go. However, my first step in the process was to voraciously research both the genuine item and the recreations that evidently have been spawned by a previously unknown cottage industry: women all over the world are evidently sewing these recreations. Who knew? Well, I didn’t but I soon found out. But the project begins with research, and the research begins with the genuine item.
When you mention the term “Chanel jacket” there is a very specific esthetic that is conjured: the short, semi-fitted, princess-seamed, boucle tweed cardigan jacket lined with silk charmeuse. And so it is that iconic.
It was 1954 (a terrific year in my world!) and women had been confined in those wasp-waisted dresses that gave the extreme hour-glass at the expense of comfort. Could women be elegant, alluring and comfortable al at the same time? Chanel thought so.
Her creation was a piece of clothing that should be in the closet of every woman of a certain age to wear with everything from jeans to a ball gown and all those pieces in between. I think that it was this sense of minimalism and the straight cut of the jacket in its supremely comfortable boucle tweed are the elements that attracted me.
This video created by the Telegraph online is the best introduction to the LBJ that I have seen (note that that LBJ is often not B!). You can find it here.
My research has led to the creation of an idea board that is providing me with both information and inspiration. This is where my own LBJ journey begins.