Coco Chanel BY:Arianne Hogwood
Before designing… born Gabrielle Chanel on August 19, 1883, in Saumur, France. was raised in an orphanages and taught to sew. had a brief career as a singer before opening her first clothes shop in 1910.
The beginning of her career… Around the age of 20, she became involved with Etienne Balsan who offered to help her start a business in Paris. Soon after, she left him for one of his even wealthier friends, Arthur “Boy” Capel. Both men became major contributors in Chanel’s first fashion venture.
Her career begins… Once she opened her business and began to apply her taste and capacities to it, she would change into a woman entrepreneur forever. Nothing would stop her: not the lack of experience, not even the war that soon exploded. For the rest of her life she would work as both craftsman and businesswoman, implementing her own view of the art of dressing on her ever expanding clientele… She started as a hat maker to the stars, and they revealed her name to Paris.
The Fashion Revolution… She opened her first hat shop on Paris’s Rue Cambon in 1910. She later added stores in Deauville and Biarritz and began making clothes. Her first taste of clothing success came from a dress that she created out of an old jersey. In the 1920s, Chanel took her business to new heights. She launched her first perfume, Chanel No. 5. In 1925, she introduced the now legendary Chanel suit with collarless jacket and well-fitted skirt. Another 1920s revolutionary design was Chanel’s little black dress.
Relationships… Pablo Picasso and Winston Churchill were among her friends. For a time, Chanel had a relationship with composer Igor Stravinsky. Also had a relationship with the Duke of Westminster and a German Nazi officer, Hans Gunther von Dincklage. She never married, having said “I never wanted to weigh more heavily on a man than a bird.”
Tidbits… Coco Chanel died on January 10, 1971. In 1969, Chanel’s life story became the basis for the Broadway musical Coco with Katharine Hepburn starring as the famous designer. Her designs were revolutionary for her time—borrowing elements of male fashion and emphasizing comfort over the constraints of once popular styles. She helped women say “hasta la vista” to the days of corsets and other confining garments.
Works Cited. http://www.famous-women-and-beauty.com/coco-chanel-biography.html http://womenshistory.about.com/od/chanelcoco/a/coco_chanel.htm http://www.biography.com/people/coco-chanel-9244165?page=1