Chanel inspired by architecture

The Phoenix Art Museum puts on Chanel exhibition, "Modern Spirit."

I must profess that I have tainted my self-proclaimed title as a "fashionista." The Phoenix Art Museum Ellman Fashion Design Gallery's exhibition called "Modern Spirit", which presents the world of fashion in the 1920s, has been live since September. I finally visited the exhibit last night, two weeks before it ends. I somewhat feel that I let down my inner flapper. However, my obsession for everything 1920s lives on. So when I heard that there was to be a gallery lecture, I knew it was my final chance to see the wonderful exhibit.

Little did I know, when I clicked the "join" button on the Facebook event page, the lecture was on architecture, not fashion. Feeling a bit let down, I still decided to go since Wednesday nights are free admittance to the museum and that I didn't really want to slave away with my anthropology homework.

I arrived at the museum with fashion giddiness and made my way to the gallery. It was very difficult to pay attention to the lecture about modernism in 1920s architecture and graphic design, when a vintage Chanel dress was feet away from where I was sitting. Yet when I heard the word "Chanel" I immediately gave full attention. The presenter on graphic design explained how the logo and look of the iconic French fashion house was inspired by elements found in various French architecture. There are many arguments to exactly where Coco Chanel found her inspiration for the interlocking C's, but there is not question that she took historical elements and created a modern look that would present her fashion house.

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Some say Chanel was inspired by the windows at the Convent of Aubazine, where she lived in when she was younger.

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Or it was the architecture at the Chateau de Cremat, in which during the 1920s she was invited to several times by Irene Bretz.

I had no idea how much impact architecture and design had on fashion. The modern spirit of 1920s was about experience, the way that space was used to compliment the design. The fashion of the time was definitely a reflection of the spirit of a new bold culture in which the modern women arose from.

If you haven't seen the "Modern Spirit" exhibit, February 10 is your last day to do so.

Reach the reporter at or follow on Twitter @HaleighD_SP

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