110 Years Of Iconic Chanel Fashion Moments That You'll Want To Revisit

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The house of Chanel is the kind of storied label that requires no introduction. Since its founding in 1910, the Parisian brand has become a household name thanks to its era-defining designs, signature fragrances, and highly-coveted accessories — not to mention its elaborately staged runway shows. The history of Chanel from begging to recent runways spans over a century and serves as a reflection of societal shifts as significant as world wars and as nuanced as music movements like grunge. After Karl Lagerfeld, who was at the helm of Chanel starting in 1983, passed away in 2019, Virginie Viard ushered in a new era for the label — one that's arguably still being defined.

Fashion month this year is unequivocally unlike any other due to the Coronavirus, which makes 2020 an apt time to reflect on the past and also imagine a new future. Ahead of Chanel's latest show, revisit the 100-some-odd years of Chanel for a dose of nostalgia and fashion inspiration alike. From the early days of flapper fringe and the invention of the little black dress, onto other memorable moments like Karl Lagerfeld's rise, the era-defining supermodels of the 1990s, and fresh modern faces such as Gigi Hadid and Binx Walton, and Virginie Viard's new vision, the brand has held the attention of fashionable fans. There's over a century's worth of Chanel to take in and what better time to do so than before the start of a new — and particularly noteworthy — season? Ahead, take a stroll down style memory lane starting from Chanel's founding in France in 1910 all the way to the present.

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Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel was born on August 19, 1883 in Saumur, France. She founded her label in Paris in 1910 and began with a collection of hats under the name "Chanel Modes." In 1913, she opens her second shop in Deveaux, France; this time selling sportswear.

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In 1924, a few years after opening her couture house at 31 Rue Cambon in 1918, Chanel is asked to create the costumes for the ballet "Le Train Bleu" (above). Others involved in the project include Jean Cocteau, who wrote the libretto, and Pablo Picasso, who created the stage curtain.

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A 1920s-era dress from Chanel complete with fringe and a dropped waistline.

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On a trip to Scotland in 1924 with the Duke of Westminster, Chanel discovered tweed for the first time; a fabric that would go on to define the brand's iconic suiting.

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Chanel invented the modern concept of the Little Black Dress in 1926.

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In the years before World War II broke out, Chanel experienced a boom in business with four thousand employees and five boutiques on Rue Cambon in Paris.

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Because of WWII, Chanel closes all but one of her boutiques. During the war, Chanel was in a relationship with Nazi officer Hans Günther von Dincklage and her ties to the party have been brought to light since.

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In 1954, she re-opened her couture house at the age of 71. The iconic 2.55 handbag was created in 1955, and two years later the brand's iconic two-tone shoes are introduced.

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Chanel's celebrity following picked up speed in the 1960s with fans ranging from Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (above) to Brigitte Bardot.

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A young Jane Fonda in two-tone Chanel heels.

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On January 10 in 1971, Chanel passed away. Her funeral reportedly drew "throngs" to the church.

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In 1978, Chanel introduced its very first ready-to-wear collection for the Fall/Winter season.


Karl Lagerfeld became artistic director of Chanel fashion in 1983. His scope of work included haute couture, ready-to-wear, and accessory collections.

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Above, a look from Lagerfeld's first collection for Chanel on the Fall/Winter 1984 runway.

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Jerry Hall walked the couture Fall/Winter 1984 runway wearing a sequin maxi dress and pumps.

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A young Naomi Campbell wearing a classic dress and jacket look on the Spring/Summer 1987 runway.

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Lagerfeld began his tradition of ending Haute Couture shows with a bridal look in the '90s.


Inès de La Fressange, a regular on the Chanel runways and friend to the brand.

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Princess Diana (shown above in 1998) had an extensive collection of Chanel pieces — from classic bags to colorful suits.

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Supermodel Claudia Schiffer wore this ornate Chanel creation on the Fall/Winter 1990 runway.

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An intimate Chanel Haute Couture show in 1990.

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Linda Evangelista carried a surfboard down the Spring/Summer 1990 Chanel runway.

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Naomi Campbell sported head-to-toe purple in 1992 for the house's couture show.

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Supermodels Christy Turlington and Claudia Schiffer beside Karl Lagefeld after the Fall/Winter 1992 couture show.

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Cindy Crawford in denim trousers on the Spring/Summer 1994 runway.

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A logo string bikini made an appearance on the runway in 1994.

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Kate Moss walked down the Spring/Summer 1994 runway in hair-to-toe pink.

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A late '90s lace slip dress worn by, yet again, Naomi Campbell.

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A revival of tweed in the late '90s on the Spring/Summer 1998 couture catwalk.

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The celebrity front row began to emerge at the end of the '90s; Celine Dion attended a Chanel show dressed in black and white in 1998.

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The finale walk included swimsuits and bold floral dresses for the Spring/Summer 2000 season.

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Over the years, Chanel's bag line grew beyond just classic silhouettes to include playful options too. The early aughts began with a runway bag inspired by the Rubik's cube.

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Alek Wek walked down the runway in a pretty peach gown during the Spring/Summer 2000 couture show.


Spring/Summer 2001 got a sporty update complete with motorcycle helmet and Chanel sneakers.

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Natalia Vodianova showcased a floral-embellished updo on the runway for the Fall/Winter 2002 season.

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Chanel took a look towards Hollywood with a red carpet-inspired runway for the Spring/Summer 2005 ready to wear show.

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Lagerfeld became increasingly recognized for his larger-than-life sets including this staircase to nowhere from the Spring/Summer 2006 couture collection.

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A denim look emblematic of the early aughts, this Chanel outfit from the July 2006 Haute Couture show is like a trip back in time.

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For Chanel's 2007 cruise collection, models emerged from a logo-bedecked airplane and onto a tarmac in Santa Monica, California.

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Model Hanne Gaby Odiele walked the pebbled runway for Fall/Winter 2007 wearing an exquisite bejeweled dress and flats.

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During the Spring/Summer 2008 show, Lagerfeld nodded to modern Americana with star-spangled dresses and chic tennis outfits — complete with sky-high heels and an ankle-wrap bag.

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Liya Kebede wore a frilled black and white ensemble on the Fall/Winter 2009 ready to wear runway.

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A young Dree Hemingway on the farm-inspired set for Spring/Summer 2009.

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A little bit punk, a little bit futuristic; Chanel in 2010 on the Spring/Summer couture runway.

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For the 2010 Cruise collection (which took place in Venice), models walked the runway barefoot in looks that nod back to Chanel's flapper designs of the 1920's.

Lagerfeld lends new meaning to winter chic with this Fall/Winter 2010 collection featuring all faux fur — a novel design approach from a Parisian house at the time.

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The Chanel bag reached new proportions for Spring/Summer 2013.

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After the Fall/Winter 2013 show, Chanel's chain boots (worn here with leather gaiters) became a favorite among the street style set.

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Cara Delevingne in that Spring/Summer 2013 strapless denim dress.

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Seeing double in 2013 with Chanel's matching Spring/Summer couture brides and Hudson Kroenig a mini muse , a fixture on Chanel's runways.

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Lagerfeld took inspiration from the west with this 2014 Paris-Dallas Metiers d'Art collection.

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The Spring/Summer 2014 runway was set up to resemble an art gallery, complete with color-swathed dresses.

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The Spring/Summer 2015 Chanel catwalk included a finale protest complete with signs and model Cara Delevingne wielding a loudspeaker.

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Supermodel Gisele Bundchen walked the runway in head-to-toe stripes for Spring/Summer 2015.

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What would you wear to a Chanel grocery store? For Fall/Winter 2014, Lagerfeld presented his take.

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A standout from Fall/Winter 2015's cafe-themed runway was this look featuring an origami-like folding of classic napkins found at the brasserie.

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Lindsey Wixson in a ruffled dress on the Fall/Winter 2015 couture runway which was set in a logo-laden casino.

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Model Binx Walton wore futuristic sunglasses as part of her layered look on the Spring/Summer 2016 runway.

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A nod to '80s punk complete with layered pearl strands and a one-shoulder top on the Fall/Winter 2016 runway.

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For Spring/Summer 2017, models wore futuristic helmets that contrasted the classic suiting sets.

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Lily-Rose Depp clad in Chanel pink ruffles on the Spring/Summer 2017 couture runway.

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The Fall/Winter 2017 silver Chanel boots that became a bona fide Instagram trend.

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Thanks to the practical-chic looks on the Spring/Summer 2018 runway, clear rain hats became a must-have accessory.

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Kaia Gerber in a floral applique frock on the Spring/Summer couture runway in 2019.

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For the Spring/Summer 2019 show, Lagerfeld created a sandy beach, complete with waves.

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Penelope Cruz walked the runway for Lagerfeld's last collection for Chanel — held right after his passing (Fall/Winter 2019).

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Chanel's new creative director Virginie Viard ushered in a new era for the Parisian house following Lagerfeld's death, focusing on a sleeker, more pared-back sophistication. Where Lagerfeld tended towards the extravagant, Viard often chooses subtler motifs and runway show sets alike.

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Vogue's EIC Anna Wintour is a long time supporter of Chanel, but one of her most iconic looks is this feathered and beaded haute couture gown worn to the 2019 Met Gala

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A youthful, Parisian-inspired look from Chanel's Spring/Summer 2020 collection. The set was designed to look like models were walking across the rooftops of Paris.

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For Chanel's Fall/Winter 2020 runway, models wore logo tights and cuffed boots along with tweed short sets.