Coco Chanel, born August 19, 1883, in Saumur, France, is famous for her timeless designs, trademark suits, and little black dresses. After her mother’s death, Chanel was put in an orphanage by her father who worked as a peddler. She was raised by nuns who taught her how to sew—a skill that would lead to her life’s work. Her nickname came from another occupation entirely. During her brief career as a singer, Chanel performed in clubs in Vichy and Moulins where she was called “Coco.” Some say that the name comes from one of the songs she used to sing, and Chanel herself said that it was a “shortened version of cocotte, the French word for ‘kept woman,” according to an article in The Atlantic.
Around the age of 20, Chanel became involved with Etienne Balsan who offered to help her start a millinery business in Paris. She soon left him for one of his even wealthier friends, Arthur “Boy” Capel. (After his death in a car accident she struggle to come back to normal life. He was the love of her life)
Both men were instrumental in Chanel’s first fashion venture.
Opening her first shop on Paris’s Rue Cambon in 1910, Chanel started out selling hats. She later added stores in Deauville and Biarritz and began making clothes. Her first taste of clothing success came from a dress she fashioned out of an old jersey on a chilly day. In response to the many people who asked about where she got the dress, she offered to make one for them. “My fortune is built on that old jersey that I’d put on because it was cold in Deauville,” she once told author Paul Morand.
A lot more details from her life you can find out in the book "Chanel: An Intimate Life by Lisa Chaney" It's very intrigue and so exciting.
"In orer to be irreplaceable one must always be different."
Portrait of Mademoiselle Chanel by Douglas Kirkland
|"Fashion is not simply a matter of clothes. Fashion is in the air, born upon the wind. One intuits it. It is in the sky and on the road." |
Gabrielle Chanel with short hair
"Fashion passes, style remains."
Gabrielle Chanel working on a model for her first collection in 1954
Coco Chanel died on January 10, 1971, at her apartment in the Hotel Ritz. She never married, having once said “I never wanted to weigh more heavily on a man than a bird.” Hundreds crowded together at the Church of the Madeleine to bid farewell to the fashion icon. In tribute, many of the mourners wore Chanel suits.
A little more than a decade after her death, designer Karl Lagerfeld took the reins at her company to continue the Chanel legacy. Today her namesake company continues to thrive and is believed to generate hundreds of millions in sales each year.
In addition to the longevity of her designs, Chanel’s life story continues to captivate people’s attention.
Here is short move about Coco created by Karl Lagerfeld. It's been 100 years since the opening the first Chanel boutique. Short film starring Keira Knightley, who was chosen by Lagerfeld to be the face of Coco Mademoiselle. Co-starring Clotilde Hesme and Brad Kroening among others.
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Source: vogue & www.biography.com