9 things you didn't know about Chanel

30 December 2015

Chanel is one of the most well known fashion houses in the world, with a rich heritage and history. It all started with Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel, who designed the iconic characteristics of Chanel, we still instantly recognize today. From the quilted leather to its monochrome color scheme, some things just ooze Chanel!

As recognizable and well know as the brand is, we bet you didn't know these 9 little facts about Chanel.

1. Chanel No 5. is the best selling pefume of all time
After its launch in 1921, No 5. quickly gained fame and became one of most distinct fragrances in the world. It was also the first perfume to air an ad during Super Bowl and the bottle was even used by artist Andy Warhol in one of his art pieces. The scent was famously worn by Marilyn Monroe, who claimed she only wore No. 5 at night. In 2015 it is still the best-selling fragrance in the world.

2. Chanel was the first beauty brand with waiting list for nail polish
In 1994 the make-up artist of Chanel decided in the very last minute before the show, that the models' fingernails should get some color. She painted the nails with a black marker, which was later recplaced by an actual color; Rouge Noir. It was the very first polish to have a waiting list. 

3. Coco Chanel invented the female suit
Gabrielle Chanel is usually credited as the one who introduced pants for women, but she was also the visionair who designed the very first female suit. Coco revolutionized the world of fashion and transformed the way women dressed themselves. Girls traded in their binding corsets and ultra-feminine circle skirts for a more gamine look, which was decidedly more comfortable.

4. Coco Chanel created the LBD
Mademoiselle Chanel was also the visionair who designed the little black dress. The LBD's defining moment came in 1926, when Vogue published an image of a black dress from Chanel's most recent collection. Vogue described the dress as Chanel's Ford (A Ford being one of the great American car icons). Many historians mark this as the birth of the little black dress.

5. Chanel's first boutique was not a couture store. 
While most assume that Gabrielle Chanel started out as a couture designer, she actually started as a milliner. So, the first store of the Parisian fashion house was a hat shop and opened in 1910. The couture boutique opened in 1915.

6. Coco Chanel was initially know for her hats
Before the brand Chanel was known by every fashion-loving lady on the planet, Gabrielle Chanel built her reputation in Paris on the excellent quality of her hatmaking. Her hats took the Parisian capital by storm and every society girl wanted one of her designs on her head. 

7. Chanel nearly went bankrupt
During World War II, Chanel had to close 4 of its 5 boutiques in Paris. The one that did remain only sold accessories and perfume. These smaller items were often bought by soldiers to treat their sweethearts. 

8. Chanel heels transform the body
The iconic Chanel slingbacks were designed to elongate the legs and make your feet look a size smaller. The heels were designed by Gabrielle Chanel in 1957, in close collaboration with shoemaker Monsieur Massaro. The fashion house recently re-introduced the design in their collection and it was an instant sell out. 

9. The 2.55 bag
The most iconic Chanel piece was first released on February 1955, and still carries along this memento in its name. The 2.55 is also one of the only accessories in the world that becomes more valueable over time. Read more about the classic bag in our Masterclass.