Ever wonder what Coco Chanel might have thought of the iPhone? Or what Steve Jobs would have said to Coco? Inspired by the very cool exhibit Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations showing now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, we mashed up direct quotes (and included some fictitious dialogue) from these two brilliant designers from very different times and places.
Coco (ladies first): You call yourself a designer? I was the only designer named to Time's 100 most important people of the 20th century!
Steve: (singing in a mock, high-pitched voice) "Ko Ko Ri Ko." A cabaret singer, an important designer? pshh. I was busy building my empire in the 20th century; my products are defining the 21st century.
Coco: People are still buying my Chanel No. 5 perfume, you know. That's almost a hundred years after it was first released.
Steve: People wait in lines hundreds of meters long to buy the iPhone. Did you ever have lines that long for your perfume?
Coco: Well I guess we both had instant classics, then, didn't we?
Steve: I'm a long-term kind of person. To do anything of magnitude takes at least five years, more likely seven or eight.
Coco: Then we agree, magnitude takes time. But how do you know your ...how do you call it? mePhone -
Coco: -well isn't that egoistic? How do you know your iPhone has staying power? I mean, I got rid of the corset, introduced simple lines and used modern fabrics. I freed women around the world from frills and fuss! Now that is life changing.
Steve: The iPhone did the same, my dear Coco. It got rid of the restrictive barriers between phone, music player, camera, computer and packed them all into simple lines and modern materials. Design is not just what it looks like. Design is how it works.
Coco: I have to agree with you there. It's like fashion is architecture. You see it and experience it from all angles so every detail has to be right.
Coco: Do you know what a Chanelism is?
Coco: Luxury is a necessity that begins where necessity ends. That's one. But really Chanelisms are the details and construction techniques that are unique to my clothing.
Steve: I think I know what you mean: for you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.
Coco: Ah, you are wiser than you seem, despite what I've heard about your very stubborn nature. So it seems we are cut from the same cloth.
Steve: That was a terrible pun.
Coco: Thank you.
Coco: In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.
Steve: Do you only speak in Chanelisms?
Steve: Coco, you are irreplaceable.
Coco: Steve, you have a long way to go yet, but I think time may prove you to be irreplaceable too.
Written by Christiana Lackner, graduate student in Interaction Design at Carnegie Mellon University, lover of beautifully and smartly designed things, member of the Casepops team.