Originated in 1954, the iconic Chanel jackets and suits were first created by Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel to free women from the constraint of the wasp-waisted cinched-in silhouettes, such as those championed by Christian Dior after WWII. Instead of following the ‘New Look’, Chanel wanted women to ‘move with ease, to not feel like they’re in a costume’. From former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy, Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton to modern day pop culture sensation Ariana Grande, Chanel jackets have remained in fashion for almost seven decades. A timeless piece that perhaps often serves as a symbol of its wearer’s socio-economic status, an average brand new Chanel Tweed jacket can measure up to USD5,800 or HKD45,000. And for those looking to invest in their first Chanel jacket or deciding whether you should spend this much on a jacket, this begs the question: are Chanel jackets worth all the hype and money? Read on to find out all the reasons they’re charging half a hundred thousand for one jacket.
130 Hours of Craftsmanship
An haute couture Chanel jacket takes up to 130 hours of crafting, and no fewer than 30 measurements. To put things into perspective, a high street fitting jacket would only need 5 measurements: (1) chest, (2) sleeve, (3) shoulder, (4) waist and (5) jacket length. From a designer’s first stroke, to a draft jacket assembled carefully in muslin (a fabric often used to prototypes), first fitting, further adjustments, second fitting, final adjustments to the delivery of the final Chanel jacket, the whole process makes up to 130 hours of meticulous craftsmanship, overlooked by head seamstress of Chanel, Madame Jacquline.
With a touch of Mademoiselle Chanel’s spirit, all Chanel jackets are constructed with multiple panels inside, as well as on the outside for the ease of movement and fluidity. Due to the multi-panel nature of the Chanel jackets and the thoughtfulness of the design, extra fabric are provided at the seam allowance and hidden underneath the lining, enabling its wearer to easily size up or down two sizes.
Perfectly Finished Lining
“Elegance comes from being as beautiful inside as outside” is one of Mademoiselle Chanel’s most quoted quote. A reflection of this mantra, the interior of all Chanel pieces — be it a jacket or a mini skirt, are finished in the highest level of craftsmanship. No raw or serged edges, everything is tucked nicely and invisibly between the lining and the wrong side of the jacket. It doesn’t matter if people won’t see the interior, it’s not luxury if it doesn’t feel as nice as it looks.
A woollen fabric borrowed from menswear by Mademoiselle Chanel. The tweed fabric has been developed and given new identities over the many years of Chanel’s reign in luxury fashion, tweed no long consists of strictly wool but also cashmere, silk and alpaca. Each yarn of different weight, texture and finish is carefully selected and artfully weaved and compressed together to make the perfect tweed pattern. This then serves as the foundation of all Chanel tweed jackets.
Special Made Trims and Buttons
The trims along the edges of the jacket, such us the edges of both sleeves, centre front, neckline and the pocket openings, are specially designed for each individual design of the jacket. Chanel rarely repeats the same trims on different designs. Similarly, each style of jackets get assigned different buttons. For runway looks, some buttons are specifically designed for one particular jacket or outfit, making its buttons unique to the style. For example, the Seoul Collection, the buttons for the jacket referred to the Korean flag. Iconically Chanel, you’ll also find the signature CC logo, the brandname, or another of the brand’s famous Camélia flower or a lion’s head on its buttons.
Chains for the Perfect Jacket Fall
Sewn on the inside of the jacket, below the silk lining and on the hem is the signature Chanel jacket interior chain. Designed to weigh the jacket down to create the look of a perfect fall and to add a touch of luxuriousness to the piece by creating the illusion of a heavy fabric. Finished with a French level of craftsmanship, colours of various hardwares, such as the interior chain, buttons and perhaps the metallic trim, are all tone-matched. You will never see a silver button with a gold interior chain.