During the 1930s Chanel continued to exploit the dramatic possibilities of black, often using it to enhance the romantic and seductive appeal of her lace evening dresses. Lace possesses a natural elasticity that allows it to cleave to the wearer's contours, a quality that appealed to Chanel's compulsive fixation on the accommodation of the body. Rarely loose, yet rarely tight, Chanel's lace dresses never constrain the torso through rigid underpinnings. However, some of her lace gowns of the late 1930s do incorporate boning, a technique Chanel employed not to reorganize the body but to achieve an off-the-shoulder décolleté that could not rely on straps or sleeves for support.


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