I met Gabrielle Bonheur tonight.

Breathtakingly gorgeous, Coco Before Chanel was an amazing look at the life of Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Chanel, the pioneering French fashion designer who’s menswear-inspired fashions with expensive simplicity make her one of the most important figures in the fashion industry, ever.

The film began as the quiet young Coco, at the age of 12 years, was dropped at the orphanage of Aubazine where she learned the trade of a seamstress. After six years in the orphanage she left and continued her work as a seamstress by day and a cabaret singer by night. She performed in clubs where the regulars called her “coco” after the songs she used to sing: Vous n’auriez pas vu Coco?

Chanel was a determined young woman. She was tough, hard working, dedicated to her craft and terribly ambitious. While living as a mistress with √Čtienne Balsan, a French textile heir, she continued her work in the tailoring shop then began designing hats as a hobby. She designed many hats for Balsan’s friend — the theater actress Gabrielle Dorziat which helped her gain recognition as a designer. Her hobby soon turned into a deep interest, a passion that took her to Paris and opened her eyes to the world of fashion.

After becoming a licensed hat maker (modiste) in 1910, Chanel opened a boutique at 21 rue Cambon, Paris named Chanel Modes. She continued to design luxurious hats for Gabrielle Dorziat until the love of her life, Captain Arthur Edward ‘Boy’ Capel, whom she met through Balsan, died it a tragic car accident. The film portrayed Chanel’s devastation as life changing, fully propelling her fashion design. She spent her days and all hours of the night developing her ideas into a career as a fashion designer.

The film’s cinematography was sensational. Each frame was gracefully articulate in color, composition, lighting. Here are a few frames in sequential order.

Coco_01

Coco_02

Coco_03

Coco_04

Coco_05

Coco_06

Coco_07

Coco_09

Coco_10

final

Watch the trailer and submerse yourself in Coco.

Throwin’ it Back to Shoulder Pads! (#19)

That’s right you faithful Innerspaeth reader, you. Throwback Friday is BACK with a vengeance. Today I’m throwin’ it back to shoulder pads.

This idea came to me over the weekend when I was helping my mother clean out my grandmother, AKA Busia’s sweater collection. I was about to try on a sweater (that I actually liked) and, low and behold, sewn into the shoulder were shoulder pads! I couldn’t believe it. My mom laughed then told me that they’re back in style. Allow me to repeat that. My MOTHER told ME that shoulder pads were back in style.

“No. They most certainly are not back in style,” I said back to her.

Then I realized… wait, maybe Mom was right and I had better do a little research.

The beginning of the shoulder pad craze first started in the 1930s when fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli included them in her designs of 1931. Shoulder pads were shaped as a semicircle and then stuffed with stiff materials like wool, cotton or sawdust. They were the perfect extension of the shoulder line and fashion designers loved it! Interestingly, they became especially popular after World War II when designs became more militarised. Jackets and coats in particular, were influenced by masculine styles and shoulder pads became even bulkier and were positioned at the top of the shoulder to create a solid look.

Joan Collins was the queen of shoulder pads, in my humble opinion. Seen here during her years on the prime time soap opera Dynasty.

JC_Dynasty

I Googled “shoulder pads” and found a surprising number of images from 2009!

Victoria Beckham, Rihanna and Katy Perry in shoulder pads
Victoria Beckham, Rihanna and Katy Perry in shoulder pads
Beyonce wears shoulder pads
Beyonce wears shoulder pads
Gwyneth Paltrow wears shoulder pads
Gwyneth Paltrow wears shoulder pads

I’m beginning to think Mom is right. So, there you have it. Clean out your closets this weekend ladies, it’s time to dig up your shoulder pads! Sport your favorite jacket or sweater to work on Monday and start the trend back up with the celebs. You’ll thank me later.