Coco Chanel succeeded in imposing herself in a world where men dominated and contributed to the emancipation of women through clothing style. At the origin of the famous fashion house, which needs no introduction, the French fashion designer Chanel realised a stylistic paradox: feminine and masculine, elegance and simplicity…
The origins of Coco Chanel
Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel was born in 1883 in the town of Saumur. Abandoned by her father at the age of 12, after the death of her mother, she worked in a clothing shop from the age of 20. Five years later, Chanel met the polo player Arthur Capel and decided to join him in Paris where she opened her first hat workshop. The success of this first workshop led to the opening of a second shop near Place de Vendôme, a third in Deauville and another in Biarritz. Now known by her nickname Coco Chanel, she brought modern innovations to the style of the time. She introduced the fashion for short hair, but in particular, she participated in the feminine revolution that was taking place: she replaced the awkward corset with simple suits and dresses. She also created the famous “little black dress”, a colour that is still reserved for mourning.
French chic and elegance
Drawing her inspiration from the clothes of her lovers and her desire to emancipate women, Coco Chanel included tweed, jersey, costume jewellery and cardigans in her collections. She opted for short hair, flowing clothes, short trousers and skirts, and sober, practical clothes. She also gained worldwide recognition for her creation of the cult perfume N°5 in 1921, one of the best-selling perfumes in the world. Above all, thanks to the great celebrity Marilyn Monroe who replied, “A few drops of N°5”, after being asked by a journalist what she wears while sleeping. Clean lines, as well as head-turning fragrances, and simplistic, tasteful designs… are irrevocably Coco Chanel’s trademark.
An enduring and recognised savoir-faire
An eternal image of French fashion, Chanel has managed to stand the test of time, as well as the test of time, by perpetuating the tradition of classy and chic clothes that made it popular. Chanel’s timeless designs and recognisable style are a benchmark for haute couture. In 1983, Karl Lagerfeld took over the reins of the House of Chanel and enjoyed international success. He preserves the French savoir-faire and elegance in his collections, drawing his inspiration from the spirit of the early days, but without copying.