Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Chanel
No wonder Coco Chanel was so fabulous and her legacy remains strong, she lived in Paris!! Her apartment is still alive in her namesake and used for her haute couture fashion store. But, in all seriousness, Coco Chanel is THE most famous fashion designer in history. With her extremely hard work ethic, strong attitude, and perseverance, she is a true fashion icon and role model. Continue reading to feel empowered by such an incredible fashion *french* icon.
Where did the “Coco” come from? Well, Coco was brought up in an orphanage with strict rules as her mother died, and her father disowned her once he fell in love. She managed to get by with her life, but her sparkling personality aided her through her darkened days where she knew she could move forward. She got her nickname “Coco” singing a song one night at a bar, as she sang quiet often (Craven, 2016).
“Keep your heels, head, and standards high” – Coco Chanel
Coco was a simple woman… She liked fabric, horses, and rich men. **Not a bad way to live, huh? LOL** Her first & only love, Boy Capel set her up to be a milliner (making headwear and hats) in January 1910 with her own place on 31 rue Cambon in Paris. … This is important!!
In 1913, Coco opened up her boutique in Deauville, with merchandise including hats and limited lines of clothing. She stood out, hence her great success- but she had a strict budget. Although she was inspired by menswear, she bought jersey material to make her garments for women as it was a cheaper cost, and draped well. During this time period, the only item made by this fabric was mens underwear!! She is remembered for use of comfort in women’s clothing, as she avoided corsets when they were popular around World War I. Coco, was THE original Jersey Girl!! (McDowell, 2015).
“If you want to be original, be ready to be copied.” -Coco Chanel
In 1926, the Chanel suit was made and who knew it would turn into a forever staple item? The suit was a skirt and collarless jacket made from yet again, jersey material! How crazy! Coco followed a classic color palate that included black, beige, and white. Coco was an absolute perfectionist when it came to her garments, including the fit and design. She had a certain taste when it came to fashion, including modernism, and simplicity.
“I make fashion women can live in, breath in, feel comfortable in and look younger in.”
– Coco Chanel
In 1926, the birth of the LBD- the little black dress, a classic piece of Chanel changed fashion forever. Today, all of us women can say we own quite a *few* LBD’s as they are a timeless pieced item in our wardrobe collection. Coco was brilliant with this dress as it is incredibly versatile, from day to night, season to season. As Coco says, “fashion fades, only style remains”(McDowell, 2015). Every woman wears her LBD with her own taste through their personal style. I know that my LBD includes an A-line dress that I pair with a statement necklace and funky shoes.
“The best things in life are free. The second best are very expensive.” – Coco Chanel
Around 1940, Coco disagreed with Christian Dior, as his designs included synched waist lines and feminine touches. She thought the designs didn’t capture the “liberated” women as they were making it out of another war, and taking on major roles in society. With perseverance and pure determination, Coco made it through a rough patch in her career securing her finances, aging to 70 years, competing with young minded designers in the market, while restarting her business. 1953, was the re-birth of the Chanel suit, AKA her comeback collection!! The comeback collection was presented February 5, 1954, where the American and British press FLIPPED! Her chic and fresh line allowed a pure rebirth of Chanel. The Chanel suit was a pure status symbol for women. It was a “slim skirt with a collarless jacket trimmed with pockets, buttons, and a sewn in chain to the hem” (Krick, 2004). The tweed fabric was prominent in her suits, as well as simple solid fabrics. Today, this is also a staple piece in both young women to even their grandmothers’ closets.
“Don’t be like the rest of them, darling!” – Coco Chanel
Each fashion season Coco kept moving forward with her career, bringing her handbags, jewelry and shoes into a strong role in haute couture fashion. She worked hard making sure she was targeting the wealthy women who would purchase these items from each collection. Chanel No. 5 was born within the re-birth of Chanel, and carried on to this day as the top selling perfume.
“Everyday is a fashion show, and the world is the runway.” – Coco Chanel
At the age of 87, Coco passed leaving behind a legacy like no other. Karl Lagerfeld took over the RTW (ready to wear) lines and haute couture designs in 1983 and continues to look into the past to capture the Chanel look. As times change, there are variances of Chanel that were brought to the stage. For example, the idea of comfortable clothing with the inspiration of mens wear, so Karl designed men’s tees and briefs along the way (Krick, 2004). Seamless & Savvy personally identifies with Coco through her determination and go getting attitude. Cheers to Coco Chanel, and her independent lifestyle that led her to great success.
Long live the crisscrossed c’s… Visit 31 rue Cambon in Paris today, where you can shop the first floor!! **insert heart eyes here**
“Elegance is when the inside is as beautiful as the outside.” – Coco Chanel