Born in Saumur, France, on August 19, 1883, Gabrielle Chanel, known as "Coco", had a very humble and sad childhood, mostly spent in an orphanage.

Having lived in a monastic environment, according to some fashion experts, has greatly influenced his style, often austere and with predominant black and white.

Gabrielle leaves the orphanage and goes to a Notre Dame home arts learning school. At the age of 18 she began working in the Maison Grampaure linen and knitwear shop in Moulin, where she put into practice the art of sewing learned from the nuns. In Paris, however, she also began working as a prostitute, as well as as a singer in a café-concert: perhaps this is where her stage name Coco comes from, from the song Qui qu'a vu Coco? that she sang.

His career in the world of fashion began in 1904, when he met Etienne de Balsan, who later financed his business. Living in her beloved's castle in Royallieu, she learns to appreciate the equestrian style: another mood that we find in her most iconic clothing items. The man indulges her in her new passion, producing caps: it is from here that Coco Chanel begins to create her clientele.

Shortly thereafter she meets Boy Capel, her great love, with whom she lives in Paris and who believes in her, so much so that she advances the money to open the boutique at 21 Rue Cambon. Not only caps, but also sweaters, skirts and dresses. Other influences for his work came from the opening of a boutique in Deauville, where he will draw inspiration from sailor clothing. During the First World War, his shop was very popular, also because it offered practical clothes suitable for the new needs that had arisen.
Her career began to take off: in 1915 she opened a boutique in Biarritz, in 1916 she bought a batch of jersey which she began to use for her clothes, a real novelty which allowed her to expand her business the following year, which counted on two boutiques, five workshops and 300 workers. Soon her name began to circulate even in the world of artists, while in the 1920s she launched the fashion for short hair: she had burned her hair on a stove, she cut the remaining ones and a new fashion was created.

1921 is the year of his Chanel No. 5 perfume, which is still a must today!
The famous Chanel N°5 was created in 1921 by Ernest Beaux, and according to Coco's indications it had to embody a timeless, unique and fascinating concept of femininity. The N°5 was innovative not only for the structure of the fragrance, but for the novelty of the name and the essentiality of the bottle. Chanel found the high-sounding names of the perfumes of the time ridiculous, so much so that she decided to call her fragrance with a number, because it corresponded to the fifth olfactory proposal that Ernest had made to her.
Unforgettable then, the famous affirmation of Marylin who, urged to confess how and with what clothing she went to bed, confessed: "With only two drops of Chanel N.5", thus further projecting the name of the designer and her perfume in the history of costume.
Then the bottle, absolutely avant-garde, has become famous for its essential structure and the cap cut like an emerald. This "profile" was so successful that, since 1959, the bottle has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

In 1926 he launched a garment that is still an evergreen today, the little black dress, the petite robe noir, while two years later he expanded his shop in Rue de Cambon, bringing it to number 31 and creating a three-floor boutique. In 1927 he opened his shop in London. Launch the garconniere style, for a feminine look ideal for the dynamic, working woman. A real revolution. Coco Chanel wears knee-length skirts, lowers the waist, offers a masculine and nautical style: no one else had dared so much before.
The twenties and thirties were characterized precisely by the lines and by the fashion invented by the stylist. CHANEL not only gave a turning point to the fashion world but for the first time it valued women and broke the thick blanket that prevented the female gender from being seen on an equal footing with the male one. The quintessential detail in the CHANEL style is the hat, in which all her instinct and passion are released, crowning the outfits that mix: light, colour, elegance, class, lightness and personality. The "petite couturière" Coco is sovereign of style and class which she never gives up, giving uniqueness and originality to each of her creations. CHANEL is for all women. Always youthful and elegant, he gave women greater importance in the world of work by combining a simple masculine jacket with a skirt, thus allowing the wearer to show their femininity.
The years of the Second World War were difficult, but in the Fifties he continued to amaze, with the tweed suit proposed with a knee-length skirt, short jacket and golden buttons.

Despite her absence from the scene, she manages to re-establish herself with ideas that are still a cult today, such as the 2.55 quilted handbag:

The arrival on the market of the sheath dress, the petit noir, dates back to 1926 and is considered the most important garment in the history of clothing. In 1932 Chanel launched a line of jewelry on the market, based mainly on diamonds, made with the collaboration of Count Etienne de Beaumont and Duke Fulco di Ventura. CHANEL has reached the peak of its fame, and its ateliers employ 4,000 people, while sales of CHANEL clothes are around 28,000 models a year. In 1939, however, the outbreak of the Second World War forced Coco Chanel to close the rue de Cambon shop, leaving only the perfume business alive. After the war, Coco Chanel, accused of having collaborated with the Nazis, preferred to move to Switzerland and sell all the rights to the brand to Pierre Wertheimer.

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Chanel returned to Paris in 1953 to find that the fashion scene was dominated by the young designer Christian Dior.

Coco Chanel returned to business with Pierre Wertheimer resuming full ownership of the "CHANEL" brand. Their collaboration brought the house back to the top of the fashion world. CHANEL's new spring collection achieved great success, and its knit suit was especially appreciated, which would also become famous thanks to Jacqueline Kennedy. Chanel gets the prestigious Neiman Marcus Fashion Oscar award, which was awarded to her in 1957 in Dallas. In 1965 Jacques Wertheimer took over from his father Pierre at the helm of the company. On January 10, 1971 Coco Chanel died at the age of 87.
After his death the brand was managed by assistants, to pass in 1978 to Philippe Guibourgè, in 1980 to Ramone Esparza and in 1983 to Karl Lagerfeld, who was the creative director of the maison until his death.
Now Virginie Viard, a close collaborator of Karl Lagerfeld for over 30 years, has taken her place.

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