15 NOV 2012

'The Draper Touch' + Chanel No.5

During WW1 and WW2, Coco Chanel and Dorothy Draper were revolutionaries of a different kind. With some business sense, a view to the future and a lot of taste, these two stunning women managed to change the way people thought about design.

We love their bold approach to cut and colour. Chanel's ability to accessorise and Draper's gift at mixing maximalist and minimalist prints are inspirational. Now settle back and prepare to learn a wee bit more about these dashing ladies. "Draper was to decorating what Chanel was to fashion. She brought color into a world which was sad and dreary.These splashy vibrant colors were used to make the public spaces represent a place for people to come and feel elevated." - Carleton Varney. After a stint as a singer and trying her hand at millinery, Coco Chanel opened her first store in France in 1910. Before long, she had carved out a name for herself in the fashion world. Known for her sophisticated, timeless dresses and suits, Chanel began to challenge traditional womenswear. She incorporated elements of menswear into her designs, threw out the corsets and added dashing accessories. Dorothy Draper was the first person to 'professionalise' interior decorating. After trying her hand at decorating her own houses and those of her friends she opened her business in America in 1923. Business boomed. Soon she was decorating hotels, castles, planes and public spaces around America and the world. In stark contrast to Chanel's classic, spare designs, Dorothy Draper embraced colour, prints and wild proportions. Out were the 'period' style rooms of the past century and in were her fresh, bold 'modern baroque' interiors. The design empires which these visionary women pioneered continue to run under the directorship of two talented gentlemen. Karl Lagerfeld has taken the reigns of Chanel and Carlton Varney (Mr. Colour) is heading Dorothy Draper's company. These two men bring the vision of Coco and Dorothy into the 21st century.

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SITE BY EMMA EAGLE