Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel was born on the 19th of August 1883 in the French town of Saumur. She spent most of her childhood in an orphanage, where she developed a strong character and a great desire of independence and freedom. In 1909 she founded Chanel, at the (now famous) ‘Rue Cambon’ in Paris. Comfort and a great fit, was what fashion was all about according to miss Coco. She argued that a woman should be able to move freely and not be constrained by corsets, which were in fashion at the time.
Chanel designed luxurious and comfortable two-piece suits. These suits proved to be her breakthrough. Her next move was a perfume that would fit perfectly with her signature style: Chanel No. 5 was born. World War II forced the French fashion house to close its doors but Coco quickly reclaimed her fame after the war. It became booming business and she became a well known Haute Couture designer.
In 1983 she was succeeded by Karl Lagerfeld. He managed to attract a younger crowd and made Chanel into one of the most recognizable and coveted brands of the 20th and 21st century.
Five things that you didn’t know about Coco Chanel
- Her first passion wasn’t fashion. She wanted to be a singer and did cabaret in France as a teenager.
- Coco Chanel isn’t her real name. She was born Gabrielle Chanel. Her nickname Coco originates from a song she used to sing: “Qui qu’a vu Coco”
- The Little Black Dress: Coco Chanel introduced the LBD as early as 1926! Thank you Coco!She is frequently misquoted. Yes, even some of her most famous quotes are incorrect.
- She worked until her death. She worked passionately to finish her last couture collection, Coco died in 1971 aged 88.