Coco Chanel : Style first

Coco in a few emblematic characteristics

The jersey sailor from 1916
The tweed suit with piping
Quilted bag 2.55
Two-tone shoes
Black and beige colors, but also red, white and gold
Costume jewellery and high jewellery

Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Chanel, pioneering fashion designer, changed the fashion landscape forever with her revolutionary creations and unwavering determination.

A difficult childhood

Born on 19 August 1883 in Saumur, France, Coco’s childhood was marked by poverty and hardship following the death of her mother and the departure of her father. Raised in an orphanage run by nuns, she learned to sew, a skill that would lay the foundations for her illustrious career.

Her beginnings in fashion

Her entry into the world of fashion began in her early twenties, when she worked as a seamstress and cabaret singer. Her unique sense of style and charisma attracted the attention of wealthy patrons, including Étienne Balsan, a wealthy textile heir who became her lover and introduced her to the elite circles of Parisian society. It was at this time that Chanel began designing hats, a venture that led to the opening of her first boutique in 1910.

Maison Chanel: style and simplicity take centre stage

In 1913, Chanel opened her iconic fashion house at 31 rue Cambon in Paris, where she presented her revolutionary creations that challenged the conventions of women’s fashion. Rejecting the corsets and elaborate dresses of the Belle Époque, Chanel favoured simplicity, functionality and comfort. She popularised the use of jersey in women’s fashion, previously reserved for men’s underwear, and introduced the little black dress, a timeless classic that remains an essential part of every woman’s wardrobe.

Throughout her career, Chanel drew inspiration from her surroundings, incorporating elements of menswear, such as tailored suits and trousers, into her collections. Her innovative approach to fashion transformed the way women dressed, freeing them from restrictive clothing and allowing them to adopt a more modern, casual style.

Building an iconic brand

As well as her revolutionary creations, Chanel was a shrewd businesswoman who understood the importance of branding and marketing.She adorned her creations with her monogram “CC”, creating one of the most recognisable logos in the world. Chanel’s iconic fragrance, Chanel No. 5, launched in 1921, further cemented her status as a fashion icon and her legacy in the annals of perfumery.

The challenges of the Second World War

Despite her immense success, Chanel’s life was not without its challenges. During the Second World War, she was criticised for her association with German officers and temporarily closed her fashion house. However, she made a triumphant return in the 1950s, reintroducing her iconic designs to a new generation of women and consolidating her status as a fashion legend.

A lasting legacy

Coco Chanel’s impact on the fashion world cannot be overstated. Her innovative creations and timeless aesthetic continue to influence designers and inspire fashionistas around the world. His legacy lives on through the enduring popularity of the Chanel brand, which remains synonymous with luxury, elegance and sophistication.

Chanel once said: “Fashion fades, only style remains the same”.Indeed, Coco Chanel’s style continues to captivate and inspire, ensuring that her influence will be felt for generations to come.