Coco Chanel

Who is Coco Chanel?

Coco Chanel, born Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, is widely known today as a fashion icon. She has changed the way women look and interpret fashion. Chanel is one of the most widely known and desired luxurious brands in the world. Coco Chanel was born in France and was raised in an orphanage.

Growing up

Not much is known regarding her childhood since many different resources have stated that she has made up bits of her childhood to get rid of the negative stigma bestowed upon the poor and less fortunate. Growing up in the orphanage, she was taken care of by nuns and was taught how to sew. She would sing on the side to earn money. This is where she started becoming known as “Coco”. She was known as Coco because she would sing the song ‘Qui qu’a vu Coco?‘ and that became her nickname.

Coco Chanel received financial help from two men she was romantically involved with. These two men were Arthur Capel and Etienne Balsan. With this financial support, Coco Chanel set up her first business and sold hats. She primarily sold these hats to her friends and their friends. After her business continued to grow, she began to sell clothes.

“The poor look”

Coco Chanel invented the “poor look”. She drew inspiration from this look from bits of her childhood and the orphanage from where she was raised. This drew the attention of various wealthy women who were looking for comfortable and different fashion. After gaining much popularity, she began to open other stores in Deauville and Biarritz. 

Chanel Perfume

In the 1920’s Chanel decided to branch outside of clothing and related fashion and make a perfume. Her first fragrance she created was the Chanel No 5 perfume. Coco Chanel had named her perfume Chanel No 5 because she considered that the number 5 would be her lucky number. A fortune teller once told her that the number 5 would bring her luck.

Today, Chanel No 5 perfume is still the most famous and popular fragrance of the Chanel fragrance collection. A theory that has been made was regarding the classic Chanel interlocking C’s logo. It has been suggested that the interlocking C’s stood for Chanel and Arthur Capel. There is no one answer as to how Chanel drew inspiration for the interlocking C’s logo she had designed.

The little black dress

Another innovation that Chanel contributed in the 1920’s was the little black dress. In those times, black was only worn when there was a funeral and as a sign of mourning. She changed the mindset with her little black dress and made it chic for evening wear. 

She is seen as being revolutionary. She introduced different fashion items that women would have not even considered wearing before. This included pants. Women were seen as inferior to men and normally wore dresses or long skirts. However, Coco Chanel stated that these articles of clothing were too uncomfortable to wear. This is when she introduced the women pants as well as the women’s suits.

Chanel bags

Chanel also came up with the shoulder bag. She became quite tired of holding her handbag/clutch with her hands so she made shoulder bags to carry it on their shoulders making it seem less heavy and more comfortable.

The death of Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel then passed away at the age of 87 years old at her apartment at The Ritz Hotel. Her death was caused by a heart attack. She never married, nor had any kids. Her collections and designs continue to be created with the vision she had started with.

Fashion Empire

Today, the luxury brand Chanel generates approximately $12 Billion in sales. It is a well-known luxury brand that is heavily desired all around the world. The Chanel brand is mainly known for its bags, fragrances, and clothing. They also sell makeup, jewelry, eye wear, and skincare. Coco Chanel has created a fashion empire. She founded The House of Chanel.

The House of Chanel

The House of Chanel was what her first Chanel boutique in Biarritz, France became known as. She paved the way for what young women inspired to be. She was very different from what other women looked like. Coco Chanel was described as having a young boy figure and short hair.

Remembering Coco Chanel

Two words that describe Chanel is revolutionary and influential. She was viewed as being revolutionary in the world of fashion. She paved the way for women to wear what they wanted but still be comfortable and chic. She built a fashion empire and a legacy that would continue to grow and expand even after her death.

Coco Chanel was a woman that pushed boundaries and had women wear clothing they typically wouldn’t wear. Coco Chanel is famously known for revolutionizing the fashion world with her little black dress, women’s pants, and women’s suits. Coco Chanel wanted women to stray away from what society expected women to be wearing.

The fashion brand Chanel today is known to stand for women independence and to stray away from fashion “rules”.


Coco Chanel’s first fragrance the Chanel No 5 is still to this day the world’s most famous and best selling fragrance. Chanel is considered one of the most luxurious successful high-end brands in the globe. 

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