Chanel is one of the most famous and respected fashion brands in the world. It is considered one of the most innovative brands in terms of fitting and combinations. But not many people know the history behind this household name The early beginnings of this amazing brand were not as glamorous as many people imagine and the driving force of this fashion house was a small woman called Gabrielle. We have listed some of the most interesting facts about Coco Chanel in order to help you understand the story behind this legend better.
Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel was born in 1883 in Saumur, France. Her early childhood was scarred by the death of her mother. Following this tragic event, her father took her to an orphanage. During the time she spent there she learned how to sew and tailor clothes. These skills will prove very useful in her later career. Her famous name comes from her stage nickname. After she left the orphanage she worked as a singer and due to her poor social status, her stage names was derived from the French “cocotte”, which means kept woman.
At the age of 20 she got involved with Etienne Balsan. He helped her launch her fashion career. Later, she left him for his friend, Artur Capel. He helped her very much during her career. She opened her first hat shop in 1910 in Paris. Soon after, she opened other shops in many other French cities. Her signature fashion inspired many women at this is the main factor that brought her fame. In 1920 she launches her first perfume, the famous Chanel No.5. In 1925 she launched her stable collection of collarless coats and fitted skirts. She was breaking many fashion rules, but people definitely enjoyed seeking something fresh at the fashion shows and on the streets.
Her love life was very complicated. After the tragic death of Artur Chapel, she got involved with a British duke after meeting him on his yacht during a party. The relationship didn’t last very long. During WWII Chanel was forced to close her company from economic reasons. She fired all her employees and closed all the shops. During the German occupation of France, she got involved with a German officer. After the way she went to trial because she was accused of espionage. She was not charged but the whole scandal affected her image in the eyes of the French. She left Paris and moved to Switzerland for a few years.
She made her major fashion come-back at the age of 70 when she launched another tailor collection that impresses the whole fashion world. Her feminine sense of fashion took her on the highest place in the fashion hierarchy. She never married because she considered that marriage would cut off her wings and that she wouldn’t be free. She continued her work as a designer until her death. She lived most of her life in Paris, in one of the most beautiful apartments from Hotel Ritz. She died in 1971.