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Coco Chanel

Gabrielle Chanel (1883–1971) was born on August 19, 1883, in the town of Saumur, located in France, in the Loire Valley, to Albert Chanel, an itinerant salesman, and Jeanne Devolle. Gabrielle Chanel was born outside of marriage. Chanel was only 12 years old when her asthmatic mother passed away at the age of 33. After their mother’s death, Chanel and her two sisters were placed in an orphanage in Aubazine. The girls chose to spend their vacation time in Moulins with their grandparents rather than traveling. In the year 1900, Chanel made her permanent relocation there, and the following year, she enrolled in the convent school in that town together with her aunt Adrienne, who was also about the same age. Both of the young ladies found employment as dressmakers, helping Monsieur Henri Desboutin of the House of Grampayre. They had learned how to sew from the nuns who lived in the convent.
In the summer of 1913, when Boy Capel was on holiday in Deauville on the west coast of France, he found a store for Chanel to establish on the prestigious street Gontaut-Biron. It was here that she displayed her first fashion collections. Boy Capel was the one who located the business for Chanel. When World War I broke out in July 1914, many rich and stylish Parisians evacuated to Deauville, where they shopped at Chanel’s store. Chanel was located in Deauville.
Chanel manufactured a stock of unstructured, three-quarter-length coats out of the excess jersey fabric that she obtained from the manufacturer Rodier in 1916. These coats were belted at the waist and adorned with luxury materials or furs. Chanel paired these coats with matching skirts. In the autumn of the same year, Chanel debuted her first full-scale couture collection. In the issue of Les élégances parisiennes that was published in March 1917, there is an illustration of a collection of jersey suits designed by Chanel. Some of the suits include beautiful embroidery, while others are quite basic and are ornamented with a saddlery-style double belt. All of them are paired with blouses that have deep sailor collars and open necklines. This matching of the coat lining to the dress or blouse was to become a Chanel signature. A design from 1918 included a coat made of tan jersey bordered with brown rabbit fur. The lining and top were made of white-dotted rose foulard. Jersey garments designed by Chanel generated a stir because of their striking simplicity and contemporary aesthetic.
Styles that were popular in the early 1920s. During the years 1920 to 1923, Chanel was in a relationship with the grand duke Dmitri Pavlovitch, who was the grandson of Russia’s Tsar Alexander II. As a result of this relationship, Chanel’s collections during these years had strong Russian inspirations. Particularly noticeable were the dark and neutral-colored shift dresses, waistcoats, blouses, and evening coats that had gorgeous, brilliantly colored, traditional Russian embroidery that had been embroidered by exiled aristocracy. Chanel debuted her long, slender, belted blouses in 1922, which were inspired by the clothing worn by Russian peasants.
Perfumes. In 1921, Chanel released her very first fragrance, which was called Chanel No. 5. Ernest Beaux was the one who created No. 5, which is said to have been named after the designer’s lucky number. Beaux used aldehydes, which are an organic compound that produces acids when oxidized and alcohols when reduced, to enhance the fragrance of expensive natural ingredients like jasmine, which is the base note of the perfume. Chanel came up with the idea for the contemporary bottle in the form of a medicinal product and the monochromatic packaging herself. The first fragrance to carry the name of a fashion designer was Chanel No. 5, which was released in 1921. Chanel’s fragrances Cuir de Russie (1924), Bois des Îles (1926), and Gardénia (1927) were all released before the end of the decade, building on the popularity of No. 5. The little black dress was also released in 1927. Chanel began designing black dresses as early as 1913, when she created a gown for Suzanne Orlandi out of black velvet and adorned it with a white petal collar. During this time, she also developed other black gowns. According to an article published in the April 1919 issue of British Vogue, “Chanel takes into consideration the shortage of vehicles and the overall difficulties of life in Paris just now with her nearly constantly black evening costumes” (p. 48). However, the little black dress did not become a widespread staple in women’s wardrobes until the October 1, 1926 issue of American Vogue described a garconne-style black day dress as “The Chanel ‘Ford’—the frock that all the world will wear” (page 69). This article is credited with starting the trend. And despite the fact that the color black has been used in clothing for a very long time, Chanel is still often regarded as the industry pioneer who popularized its usage.
The years of the conflict. During World War II, Chanel was forced to shut her couture firm, but she kept producing and selling her signature fragrances. Her German partner, an officer in the German army called Hans-Gunther von Dincklage, was stationed in Paris throughout the course of the war, and the two of them made their home at the Hotel Ritz. Chanel took refuge in Switzerland after the liberation of Paris in 1944, and she did not make her way back to the rue Cambon for almost a decade after that.
Chanel returned to the workforce in 1953, when she was seventy years old, in part to revive her faltering perfume business. Her approach to fashion has never altered; she has always emphasized the importance of functionality and comfort in clothing, and she has always said that her ultimate goal is to make women seem charming and youthful. Her first postwar collection was a line of subtle suits and dresses, and it was shown for the first time on February 5, 1954.
Chanel was able to successfully reassert herself as a prominent fashion designer on a worldwide scale by incorporating contemporary elements into the designs and business practices that had earned her so much early-career success.
In 1954 Chanel created a man’s scent, Pour Monsieur. In the same year, Pierre and Paul Wertheimer, who already owned Parfums Chanel, purchased her whole firm. The Wertheimer family has maintained ownership of the company up until the early 2000s.
On January 10, 1971, Chanel passed away when she was in the process of planning her spring–summer 1971 collection. In December of 1978, her personal belongings, including her dress and jewels, were auctioned off in London.
Gaston Berthelot was tasked with continuing Chanel’s legacy of designing timeless pieces of clothing between the years 1971 and 1973 after the designer Chanel passed away. In 1970, Chanel debuted her fragrance No. 19, which was given the same number as her birthday. Philippe Guibourgé began designing ready-to-wear collections in 1978. In 1980, Ramon Esparza became a member of the couture design team. The ready-to-wear collections were developed beginning in 1974 by Jean Cazaubon and Yvonne Dudel. But it wasn’t until 1983, when Karl Lagerfeld was named chief designer, that the House of Chanel once again made headlines in the world of fashion: it continues to be the epitome of desirability for customers of all ages in the early 2000s.
Since his hiring, Lagerfeld has never stopped referencing the Chanel style, sometimes providing traditional interpretations of it and other times making funny or satirical observations about it. In the end, he has developed the label in order to make it relevant to the modern market.

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