Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Leadership (MAL)



First Advisor

Boyd Koehler

Second Advisor

Peggy Cerrito

Third Advisor

Grace Dyrud


The focus of this case study is to examine Coco Chanel in the context of the transformational leadership model developed by James McGregor Burns. Other transformational leadership theorists' perspectives will be integrated into this analysis in order to delineate the characteristics that profile the unique leadership style of fashion designer Coco Chanel.

More specifically, this study will demonstrate how Chanel used fashion as a tool of communication to convince women worldwide of their imprisonment in physically constricting clothing designed to conform to the ideals of a male-dominated society. Chanel, as an international designer and third-wave feminist, went further through her fashion innovations to promote social change in societal views of women and to enhance women's freedom of personal and professional choices, identity and independence.


SC 11.MAL.2011.Rolph.TS