The way that this is written, there is an implication of the slender pair of shoulder straps being part of an innovative uncluttered beauty. However, bared arms and shoulders had been part of ball dress (the most formal evening dress) for a long time.
|From Le Moniteur de la Mode, February 1855|
|Ball dresses, The Woman's World, 1890, p. 131|
|Evening dress, unknown designer, "Couturiers design for afternoon and evening", Vogue, November 1916; NYPL 818456|
The statement that one of Chanel's 1919 models had an "uncluttered natural beauty" is clearly factual. I am not debating its accuracy for that specific dress. Nicholson's implication, however, is that this is significant to Chanel's overall taste and the reasons for her success, an early predictor of what she would become known for and how she would triumph. This is the common (yet inaccurate) view of Chanel: that she burst onto the scene with a newfound simplicity in all her designs that made her an instant success.