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(19 August 1883 – 10 January 1971)
SEM - III
• Gabrielle "Coco" Bonheur Chanel (19 August 1883 – 10 January 1971) was
a French fashion designer and founder of the Chanel brand.
• She was the only fashion designer to appear on Time magazine's list of the
100 most influential people of the 20th century.
• Along with Paul Poiret, Chanel was credited with liberating women from the
constraints of the "corseted silhouette" and popularizing the acceptance of
a sportive, casual chic as the feminine standard in the post-World War I era.
• A prolific fashion creator, Chanel's influence extended beyond couture
clothing. Her design aesthetic was realized in jewelry, handbags, and
fragrance. Her signature scent, Chanel No. 5, has become an iconic product.
• The Chanel family did not have money.
• No one knew how to spell Chanel so the mayor
improvised and recorded it with an "s,"
making it Chasnel.
• When Gabrielle was twelve, her mother died of
tuberculosis, and her father disappeared.
• School vacations were spent with relatives .
Female relatives taught Coco to sew with more flourish than the nuns at the
monastery were able to demonstrate.
• When Coco turned eighteen, she left the orphanage.
• She found a job as a shopkeeper specializing in the lines and wares.
Later she became a singer and dancer in a music hall, where she got
the name Coco.
• Gabrielle adopted the name “Coco” during a brief
stint as a singer in cafes and concert halls
• While working at a tailoring shop she met and
soon began an affair with Etienne Balsan
• Coco left Etienne and took over his apartment
• In 1908 she began selling hats from the basement
shop in Etienne’s apartment.
• She was forced to close her shop.
• In 1909 Chanel met up with an estranged and former best friend of Etienne
Balsan, Arthur "Boy" Capel.
• 1910 she opened second shop funded by boy Capel in Cambon, Paris.
• 1913 she opened a clothing shop in Deauville , France funded by Capel .
• 1915 Her reputation was firmly established, Chanel opens her first Couture
House in Biarritz, France.
• In 1916 Coco Chanel became the first designer to create loose women’s
clothing using jersey.
• In 1919 Chanel relocated one of her shops to 31 rue Cambon in Paris.
• Coco also lost her true love, Arthur “Boy” Capel in a tragic car accident.
• In 1922, she launched the iconic fragrance Chanel No. 5.
• In 1925 Chanel launched her signature cardigan jacket.
• In 1924 CHANEL presents the first makeup collection, featuring lip colours
and face powders.
• In 1926 she created the “little black dress”.
• In 1931 at the personal request of Samuel Goldwyn, Gabrielle Chanel goes
to Hollywood to create outfits for the leading stars of the silver screen.
• In 1939 Chanel closed all her shops except the one on Rue Cambon No. 31.
• In 1954 she returned to the fashion world after spending 15 years in
• In 1955 Chanel launches the iconic 2.55 quilted handbag.
• In 1957 Chanel was presented with the Neiman-Marcus Award.
• Coco Chanel died of a heart attack in her private suite at the Hotel
Ritz Paris on 10 January 1971, at the age of 87. She was buried in
Switzerland and her tombstone is carved with lion heads
representing her birth sign, Leo.
• The Chanel logo, designed by Coco Chanel herself in 1925, consists
of two interlocked and opposing letters “C” for her name, “Coco
• It remains unchanged since and at the same time, one of the most
iconic logos in fashion industry.
• A popular story suggests that it was inspired by the original Château
de Cremat logo; a pair of intertwined Cs. The Chanel logo was
notregistered as a trademark until the first Chanel shops were built.
Fashions that Chanel Introduced to
- LITTLE BLACK DRESS
• All the famous innovations in fashion and design cannot outshine the fame of
the single Chanel Little Black Dress. Coco Chanel introduced it in a time between
the wars, when the bright colors, prints and heavy embroideries dominated the
The long-sleeved black dress, which was initially made for day in wool, and for
evening in crepe, satin or velvet, shook up the world of fashion. Later appeared
the other variations of a little black dress: short, sleeveless, in a pleated black
chiffon, in black lace…
In 1926 American Vogue named Coco Chanel black dress "a Ford", meaning it’s
simplicity and it’s potential for an enormous and long-lasting success. It was the
little black dress of Chanel, that inspired the famous remark of her competitor
Paul Poiret: "What has Chanel invented? De luxe poverty."
The Chanel little black dress became a symbol of chic and sophisticated
- CHANEL N.5
• It was in 1921, that Coco Chanel had created the
single most famous perfume in history, Chanel No.5.
• Chanel N.5 is the first designer perfume.
- COSTUME JEWELRY
• Over the past years, we've seen a serious resurgence of cheap and chic
mega-jewels, from larger-than-life earrings to serious statement
• But the pioneer of all of that faux bling is, without a doubt, Coco
Chanel. The designer, who was rarely seen without a heaping pile of
pearls around her neck, designed costume jewelry made from
chains, beads, and glass that was meant to be worn with her casual
daytime sportswear as early as the 1930s.
• Her reasoning was that if women could buy jewelry that was more
affordable than real gemstones, they could properly accessorize every
outfit they had, rather than sticking with a few simple pieces.
• It seems so simple now, doesn't it? You get up, you take a
shower, you "put on your pants one leg at a time, just like everybody
else..." but 80 years ago, that was a concept reserved strictly for
bearers of XY chromosomes.
• Then along came Chanel, who decided that women should enjoy the
same freedoms as men, and that binding corsets and skirts were
physically holding them back. "I gave women a sense of freedom,"
she once said. "I gave them back their bodies: bodies that were
drenched in sweat, due to fashion's
finery, lace, corsets, underclothes, padding.“
• When she decided there was no comfortable way to ride a horse
while wearing a long skirt, she literally took the pants off a male rider
and made them her own.
- CHANEL’S SIGNATURE CARDIGAN JACKET
In 1925, Chanel launched her signature
- SAILOR TOPS
Nautical-inspired clothing is a classic look that began
with Chanel's sailor tops. The navy blue and white
stripes worn by French fishermen were the inspiration
behind her design.
- MADE JERSEY FABRIC FASHIONABLE
Coco Chanel outraged the fashion industry in 1917
by snubbing uncomfortable chiffon and
taffeta fabrics and turning to jersey knit,
which was deemed “cheap” and only used for
undergarments at the time. She newfound mobility
paved the way for women to enter the world of sports.
- POPULARIZED SUITES FOR WOMEN AND TURTLENECKLINES
- THE BOBBED HAIRSTYLE
- QUILTED BAG
1955, Gabrielle Chanel launches the iconic 2.55 quilted
handbag, naming the style after the date of its creation. Combining
leather and gold chain, she invents a supple new style of shoulder
strap that is uniquely strong and light, and that allows a woman’s
hands to remain free.
- CHANEL TWEED SUIT
• Coco Chanel famously borrowed the masculine fabric and created
the famed Chanel suit out of tweed during the 1920s.
Even though tweed was a cheap fabric and
Coco Chanel was
selective, she adored the
fabric and only used tweed produced
by the Duke of Westminster's factory. She
then lined the jacket in fur in order to increase the
cost and subsequently its status.
• It was structured to feel like a
cardigan, rather than a restrictive suit
jacket. The differentiation were the
silk lining stitched directly
to the tweed, boxy cut and the three-
part construction of the sleeves.
- CHANEL’S ‘BIJOUX DE DIAMANTS’
• In 1932, Coco Chanel started a jewelry revolution. Up until then, the
designer had shown costume pieces worn with her clothing. But at
her exhibit in Paris, "Bijoux de Diamants," she debuted Chanel's first
fine jewelry: diamonds set in platinum.
- CHANEL GARDENIA FLOWER PERFUME
The “Roots” of Chanel Business
• Coco Chanel sought financial help from Pierre Wertheimer to
market a fragrance she had developed in 1921
• Pierre Wertheimer funded the venture and retained a 70 percent
ownership share in the Perfume company. Coco Chanel only got a
10 percent cut.
• Pierre Wertheimer wanted to protect his legal rights, but wished to
avoid a court battle, and so, in 1947, he settled the dispute with
Coco Chanel, giving her $400,000 and agreeing to pay her a 2
percent royalty on all Chanel products.
• At 70 years of age in 1954, Coco Chanel returned to Paris with the
intent of restarting her fashion studio. She went to Pierre
Wertheimer for advice and money, and he agreed to finance her plan
in exchange for all rights to the Chanel name.
• To this day Chanel has expanded its line to include women's
fashions, jewelry and accessories, handbags, leather goods, and
other products. While its products are sold through third
parties, Chanel also operates its own network of more than 80
company-owned retail stores worldwide. There are also more than
120 Chanel shop-in-shop boutiques in leading department stores
around the world.
• In 1983 Karl Lagerfeld took over as chief designer for Chanel. Like
Chanel, he looked into the past as inspiration for his designs. He
incorporated the Chanel fabrics and detailing such as tweed, gold
accents, and chains. Lagerfeld kept what was signature for Chanel
but also helped bring the brand into today.
• Today, under the guidance of designer Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel
remains not only one of the oldest, but also one of the world's most
prestigious fashion houses still active. A tribute to her unique
vision, the designs of the woman who carried fashion into the 20th
century promise to remain just as popular well into the 21st
Collections by the house of Chanel
COCO CHANEL’S FINAL COLLECTION FOR CHANEL
More than 1,000 people viewed Coco’s last collection on 26 January
1971 the day after she had put the finishing touches She died on the 10th