Coco Chanel

It never ceases to amaze me how timeless an inspiration Coco Chanel is for my French students. I have been teaching for a very long time. Each year the new students discover Chanel, her clothes , her style and her life and they are transported into a realm of wonder and inspiration. They want to know everything about her. The find her life so different from theirs but compellingly interesting. They love the fashion and they look for very particular designs in her clothes which they love. Any time I set a background assignment on fashion and the students report back on it with a presentation in class it is always something both moving and deeply creative. By contrast Karl Lagerfeld means nothing to them in this new generation. They discover who he is and what he stands for and respect him for that but it is Coco Chanel who gets to them. It makes teaching French very easy. I can use the fashion words and we learn about clothes and clothing vocabulary. One of my best tricks is to get the boys to pick an outfit they think the girls will fall in love with and vice versa. The students take it very seriously and learn the words quickly for what they have chosen.

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