Coco Chanel was born on August 19th, 1883 in Saumur France, where she grew up. Coco did not have the best background. Coco had a wealthy businessman for a father who let Coco’s mother manage their money. Coco’s parents divorced when Coco was young and Coco’s father left her family without any help financially. Coco’s mother had to learn how to sew in order to make ends meet for Coco and Coco’s older brother. Coco did not have a very good childhood, but she was always surrounded by fashion, which Coco loved.
Coco said that “Fashion is the social articulation of the body. ” Coco decided at a young age that she wanted to work in fashion, specifically Parisian fashion. Coco went into apprenticeship under Madamoiselle Lemann who owned a fashion boutique on Rue Cambon in Paris; shortly after Coco worked for two other fashion houses before setting up her own business with help from Pierre Wertheimer (her wealthy love interest). After three years of hard work Coco had opened up her first shop on Decemeber 31, 1910 and Coco was twenty-seven years old.
Coco’s first shop was a success and Coco became well known as an innovator in fashion design for women through her designs, such as the Chanel Suit (a woman’s suit with a matching hat, similar to what we now know as power suits). Coco opened up more shops all over Europe along the way until she finally settled in Paris at 31 Rue Cambon. Coco’s success continued to grow and Coco expanded her business by giving others permission to manufacture and sell Coco’s designs which is where the brand we know today was born: Coco Chanel.
Coco lived a fascinating life full of drama and history that extended beyond just fashion. Coco once said: “Fashion fades, only style remains the same”. Coco Chanel truly lived by this statement throughout her entire career in fashion. Coco’s love life was also remarkable. Coco had many lovers, but only one stuck with Coco for a very long time, his name was Igor Stravinsky (a famous Russian composer).
Coco and Stravinisky met in 1917 after Coco attended one of Stravinsky’s concerts. They continued to date until Coco introduced Stravinsky to his current wife which led Coco to break off their relationship because Coco believed that it would be unfair to marry someone while still being married to another person. Coco lived much longer than she expected to live due to World War I where Coco served as a volunteer nurse at the front line who helped soldiers.
Coco survived the war and Coco continued to design plenty of items for women, including coats, blazers, shirtdresses, shorts, perfume bottles, etc. Coco’s fragrance is still popular today called Chanel No. 5. Coco believed that there was no need for change when it came to fashion; Coco believed that everything she made should be one hundred percent perfect because if something was not absolutely perfect then Coco would start all over again until it was absolutely perfect (one reason why Coco’s pieces are so well known).
She attended convent school until she was 16 years old due to an attack that left her with a fractured skull. After this Coco took up work as a singer and performer at various cabarets across Paris. Once she had saved enough money from singing and dancing Coco opened her own little shop at 21 Rue Cambon called “Chanel Modes”. In 1910 Coco went about creating the now famous “Little Black Dress”, which is still being made today by Coco’s fashion house.
In 1926 Coco Chanel closed her shop at Rue Cambon to open another larger one on the Rue de Rivoli, Coco Chanel remained in that location until she died. Coco Chanel lived an extravagant life travelling around the world staying at the elite hotels and resorts of Europe. Coco’s designs made her a fortune before even reaching middle age, but Coco was also known for enjoying her wealth while maintaining a bohemian lifestyle. Coco spent lavishly on jewels, furs, clothes and perfumes all designed by Coco herself under the Coco Chanel brand name.
As Coco’s fame grew so did her social circle which greatly expanded due to all her generous donations to various charity organisations across France during World War I. Coco enjoyed many successful relationships with American heiresses and European royals, Coco’s longest relationship was with one of her models Boy Capel. Coco had two failed marriages during this time, Coco finally married the third man to propose to Coco in her life named Monsieur Louis Marie Raymond Blanc. Coco continued to live her extravagant lifestyle but would enjoy it for only fifteen further years after she retired due to health problems. Coco Chanel died on January 10th 1971 at the age if 87.
Coco Chanel has made a name for herself across the world as an influential fashion designer, who has created some of the most famous designs known today such as “The Little Black Dress” which is still being sold by Coco’s fashion house today Coco’s personality was also widely known to be a glamorous and extravagant one Coco was also known for her generosity towards charity organisations during World War I Coco Chanel died in 1971 at the age of 87.