October 28, 2008

Coco Chanel x True Fashion Genius::

So great is Coco Chanel's legacy that fans make pilgrimages to her Paris apartment (although she also lived in the Paris Ritz for 30 years), which is preserved as she left it and endlessly referenced for style - as is every image of her and every tiny thing she ever designed. From her use of monochrome to her oversized 'costume' pearls and cuffs, everything is still sublimely, continuously referenced. As she herself once said: "Fashion fades, only style remains the same." Only a small number of people take the thoughts inside their head and create their own, unique way of dressing. They are the ones who become the fashion designers. Have you ever thought about how hard their job can be? Designers are the ones who decide how fashion will take its course, whether it will stay the same or make a drastic change. Gabrielle Chanel, born a pauper, was one of these people. Her barely educated, nevertheless ingenious mind helped her to become a woman remembered as the greatest designer of the 20th Century. 

• Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel was born on the breadline in Saumur, France in 1883.

 • During her childhood, her mother caught an untreatable disease and died.

• At age 6 her father ran off and abandoned her and her siblings.

• Officially orphaned, she became a ward of state and eventually was sent to an orphanage in Aubazine, France.

• At age 17, Chanel entered a convent in the area around Aubazine. There, she learned how to sew and mend her own clothes.

• At age 22, she rebelled, left the convent, and became a bar singer in Paris. 

• Performing as a bar singer is where she adopted the nickname Coco'.

• Coco Chanel began as a hat designer in Paris in 1908. 

• She created a very boyish hat, which contrasted hugely with the big, fancy hats that were in vogue at the time. 

• She designed and sold these hats in Paris in a millinery shop she opened in 1910 .

• A rich boyfriend' helped her open her own clothing boutique in 1913.

• Chanel No. 5 was the first fragrance from Parisian couturier Gabrielle "CoCo" Chanel, and has been on sale continually since its introduction in 1921. It has been described as "the world's most legendary fragrance", and remains the company's most famous perfume.

• She launched the famous Chanel suit in 1923.

The flirtatious Chanel was proposed to by many a man, as well as the Duke of Westminster Hugh "Bendor" Grosvenor, the richest man in Europe but she refused the offer saying, "There have been several duchesses of Westminster. There is only one Chanel" 

(Hugh Grosvenor, Duke of Westminster and Coco Chanel)

• Coco Chanel was rumored to have had a love affair with famed artist Salvador Dalí. 

(Coco Chanel and Salvador Dalí )

• In 1939, because of the sudden outbreak of World War II, she closed her shop. She moved to the glitzy Ritz Hotel (which she later bought) with her German boyfriend, a Nazi officer. 


•Because she was jobless and nearly broke, her current lover helped her to get a job at a Nazi headquarters. When they broke up, however, she threatened to reveal military secrets to other, enemy countries; thus she was exiled of sorts by the Nazis to Switzerland.

• Chanel's boutique reopened in 1954, when Coco was seventy one years old. 

• Chanel's wellknown “2.55” takes its name from the month and year when Coco Chanel has launched the luxurious item: February 1955.

• She became part of the Establishment, a very high-class group in Europe, in the 60s and continued to design spectacular clothing.

• Coco Chanel died in her beloved Ritz Hotel in 1971 at the age of eighty seven. 

• She created a new look for women in the 20th century, creating clothes that were primarily comfortable. A Chanel suit of 1923 or handbag is still seen as a landmark purchase for women of increasingly younger ages.

• Chanel became known for taking menswear and adapting it to fit the modern woman who didn't have time for corsets and glitz and glamour, but still wanted to look fashionable.


• Her first success ever was a loose fitting sweater, paired with a belt and loose skirt.

• Her catchy logos and two toned shoes proved successful as she got richer and became famous all over France and into the United States. 

• Chanel often said that she only designed things that she would wear herself, and accordingly often modeled her own clothing. 

• In 1936, Chanel started to make long, graceful dresses, and the glitzy evening wear started to appear. 

• Chanel turned black, formerly a color of mourning, into a color of elegance when she became famous for making the simple but tasteful "little black dress", worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's.

• Coco Chanel believed that being copied was important- it meant that you were popular. 

• She is also famous for inventing sweater sets and developing the first artificial suntan lotion.

• Her imaginative, unique mind was entered when she said, "Fashion isn't simply a matter of clothes. Fashion is in the air, born upon the wind. One intuits it!" 

• The Chanel No.5 scent is the best selling in the world.The company estimates that a bottle is sold worldwide every 55 seconds.

• The famous fragrance is named for her lucky number and no other reason.

• The interlocking Cs of Coco Chanel remain one of the ultimate brand insignia. 

• Since 1983, Chanel has been designed by Karl Lagerfeld.

• The building where her apartment is in Paris was bought by Chanel in 1920, and still houses the ground-floor shop, the haute couture workrooms in the attic (where 100 seamstresses still work entirely by hand), and what is now Karl Lagerfeld's study.

Coco Chanel's bobbed hair, bright red lips and outspoken manner also broke the mould. Over all, Coco Chanel had a major affect on the fashion world.  She has the history of a woman whose radical style made her contemporaries seem boring. The brand could not be more alive with watches, beauty, fragrance, womenswear and new stores all around the world. Coco Chanel truly was a fashion genius.

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