Coco's jacket grabs the world by its lapels

By Jan Shure, March 18, 2010
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Orange-white tweed jacket, £28, Matalan

Orange-white tweed jacket, £28, Matalan

It is hard to believe that the boxy, edge-to-edge jacket in knobbly wool bouclé, originally created by Coco Chanel in 1955, is enjoying yet another fashion moment.

It became a wardrobe classic for a decade after its creation, then lost its style supremacy for two decades when mini-skirts, flower-power, Biba and Mary Quant made anything as formal as a tailored jacket horribly passé.

It stepped back into the spotlight in the early 1980s when Karl Lagerfeld was appointed Chanel's creative director. In a stroke of pure genius, Lagerfeld recreated, up-dated and gave a new twist to many of Coco Chanel's iconic pieces, making them must-haves for a totally new generation of women.

Arguably his most successful resurrection was the definitively chic Chanel jacket. Shorter, a little more fitted, more boldly trimmed than the 1955 original, and more likely to be seen accompanying a pair of jeans than a matching tweed skirt, Lagerfeld's version of the Chanel jacket entered the fashion lexicon of the hip 20-somethings. It hogged the limelight till the noughties and then suffered a minor eclipse until reinvented in an edgy version by Luella in her winter 09 collection. Ironically (she ceased trading last November), Luella seems to have propelled it back into the mainstream. This season there are versions by Donna Karan, Dolce & Gabbana, Derek Lam, Moschino and even Marc Jacobs, whose covetable ivory tweed jacket, with day-glo ribbons and a military shoulder line, definitely alludes to Karl's recreation if not Coco's original. It is also all across the high street, from New Look and Topshop to Bonmarché and Bhs.

Part of the reason for its ubiquity is ability to suit different ages and figure types, and to be both smart and casual, depending on whether it is worn with a pencil skirt, shorts, jeans or a miniskirt.

Among the prettiest are Dolce & Gabbana's sparkly version in lurex with chiffon frills and short sleeves, available at Browns, and at Derek Lam in a star patterned cloth. At Fenwick, W1, there is a perfect little Chanelesque jacket in black and white summer tweed with coloured plaited braid and chain-mail trim by clever Italian label MCMG at £489, as well as a long version in coral with coral plait braid £579.

In the same genre is an edge-to-edge jacket with raw edge and chain trim in white or beige with black by Gerard Darel at £249. The Brent Cross store has a black embroidered mesh jacket with detailing around the neck by Day Birger et Mikkelsen at £299, and an in-your-face take in salmon/white stripes with chunky gold braid trim by Manoush at £255. They also have a Max&Co jacket in black, grey and white summer tweed at £175.

Tory Burch has a striking version in white perforated leather at £585 at Net-a-Porter (www.net-a-porter.com) which also has Moschino's cocktail version in crepe with pearls substituting for braid (£1,358), as well as one in white with black ribbon trim by DKNY at £385.

Among the best on the high street is Next's summer-weight tweed in white, orange and black, trimmed on sleeves and stand-up collar in hot pink at £65.

New Look have done several little jackets that nod to the "Chanel" original - one in white with black sequin embellishment, and another in black with sequins, as well as a pretty daytime version, in white with black trim at £55.

For a fresh twist, Marks & Spencer have combined denim (another big trend), with the edge-to-edge jacket and created a crop jacket in washed denim at £32.

Tesco's spring collection includes a pretty, nautical stripe version with bracelet-length sleeve and button trim on pockets, while Dorothy Perkins has a great version in poppy with black trim that looks perfectly on-trend with a shorts, mini skirt or with jeans.

For curvy girls, Evans has a pretty homage (it is even called Coco), with a little frill down the front and round the cuffs.

Last updated: 1:45pm, March 18 2010