Coco Chanel loved jersey — knitted clothing, generally made of wool or cotton, usually with sleeves, worn as a pullover, as it does not open at the front, unlike a cardigan.
The fabric was especially prominent in her sportswear-influenced pieces, much to the shock of her clientele, which was used to satin and silk.
It was an unusual choice for the time: Jersey had, until then, been mostly used for men’s underwear.
But it was easy to work with and comfortable, encapsulating everything the designer wanted to create for her customers. Importantly for Chanel, ever the entrepreneur, it was also relatively cheap, and helped keep costs down as she established herself and her label.
She was the first designer to popularize jersey in women’s fashion, using the material for dresses, skirts, sweaters and more — a tradition Karl Lagerfeld maintained as creative director of the fashion house in the decades following her death.