Posted by Kanjure
“My life didn’t please me, so I created my life.” ― Coco Chanel
Liberal, unconventional and bold, are the expressions that outline Coco Chanel for not just creating a brand estate but building a legacy out of it.
Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel was born on 19th August, 1883 in Saumur, France, to an unwed mother. Having lost her mother at the age of twelve, Chanel spent her early teenage years in an orphanage, learning the art of sewing.
Chanel made her living by singing at café and entertaining the crowd. It is here, that she was referred to as “coco”. But given her marginal voice, she failed at it. It wasn’t long that her lady luck worked and she met the heir of textile industry Etienne Balsan. While sharing her relationship with Balsan, Coco started designing hats as her hobby. She also built good contacts with the influential sections of the society that included poets, craftsmen, painters and other renowned artists. In 1908, Chanel started dating Captain Arthur Edward ‘Boy’ Capel. Capel contributed in Chanel’s career by financing her first workshop. Now, Chanel had all that was required to build an empire.
During World War 1, women wore corsets and that’s exactly what Chanel had challenged. She often quoted “Luxury should be comfortable, otherwise it’s not luxury”. She came up with radical designs that were comfortable for women and inspired by men clothing. And thus created the trend for Chanel coats and short skirts. Amongst her achievements, the most noticeable were Chanel coats, little black dress and Chanel 5 perfume.
The 85 years old Chanel died on 10th January, 1971, leaving behind the legacy of unconventional, timeless designs. At the time of her death she was designing for her new spring collection.
Today there are more than 700 Chanel stores worldwide. Chanel 5 perfume is still the best selling product of Chanel industry. The haute couture workshops are still held in Coco’s house in Paris. The tall, blond haired, bright red lipped Coco is an inspiration to millions and her work is occasionally referred by the budding artists. Chanel proved that while fashion fades, style remains. Her designs are timeless and as iconic as Coco herself.
Coco always said ““In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.” and that, she nailed in.