DIY Halloween Costume Series: Iconic Women in History, Week 2

DIY Halloween Costume Series: Iconic Women in History, Week 2

Each week in October, the design team will be celebrating their favorite iconic women in history with a DIY Halloween costume project! PLUS – we’ll be recreating some of their most memorable photographs, and showing you exactly how to do it yourself!


How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something, but to be someone. - Coco Chanel


Our model (and design team member) Melissa has always admired Coco Chanel, and couldn’t wait to emulate her most iconic photographs. “She came from nothing and through her revolutionary ideas, she created an empire and transformed women’s fashion forever. She introduced the world to the little black dress, the legendary Chanel Suit, and Chanel No.5. Her designs are iconic and will stand the test of time because they are truly original.”

Here’s what you’ll need to create Coco’s memorable look this Halloween:

Elements of Coco Chanel Halloween costume

If you’re rocking the Chanel look on Halloween night, be sure to remember some key facts about this iconic lady:

1. She lived in an orphanage from ages 12 to 18, and learned the art of sewing from the nuns who cared for her.

2. Chanel No. 5 was the first perfume to be named after its designer.

3. She made the “little black dress” fashionable. Before her late 1920s show, black dresses were typically only worn by women in mourning.


First, we chose our two favorite original photos of Coco Chanel:

Original photos of Coco Chanel

Next, we got to work on recreating these famous shots. Luckily for us, we have a dark chair and a light-colored bench in the Nations Photo Lab conference room. With some creative lighting additions and some Edith Piaf playing on the radio, we had transformed the room into our very own French photography studio!

“There is no time for cut-and-dried monotony. There is time for work. And time for love. That leaves no other time.” - Coco Chanel



The first iconic replica photo was relatively easy to edit. First, we fixed little things in the photo to make it look as close as possible to the original. After darkening the skirt and changing the placement of the cigarette a little, we added a white background. We had to add some shadows as well, so it wouldn’t look too flat. 

Before and after Photoshop work on Coco Chanel replica photos


Finally, we added a little bit of noise across the image and made the photo black and white:

Replica Coco Chanel photograph post processing in Photoshop



To make our second photo more true to life, we used Photoshop to hide some of the bobby pins in her hair and to add an extra string of pearls. To finish the photo in the same way as the first image, we added noise and made the photo black and white.

Replica photos of Coco Chanel at various stages of the editing process

Our final photos (drum roll please):

Photo replicas of Coco Chanel

The final photo comparison – pretty cool, right?!

Side by side photo comparison of original and recreated Coco Chanel photograph

Side by side photo comparison of original and recreated Coco Chanel photograph

Feeling inspired to step out as Ms. Chanel this year? Share your photos with us on Facebook or Instagram, and give us a shout in the comments below!

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