Unique Camellia ‘Coco Chanel’
Gabrielle Bonheur "Coco" Chanel (19 August 1883 – 10 January 1971) was a epochal French fashion designer whose modernist style, menswear-inspired fashions, and pursuit of expensive simplicity made her an important figure in 20th-century fashion. She was the founder of the famous fashion brand Chanel. Her extraordinary influence on fashion was such that she was the only person in the couturier field to be named on Time 100, the most Important People of the Century.
Chanel (1883-1971) was born in Saumur, Southern France. Her family did not have money, and they lived in a poor house in a narrow street. In the big cities of France, the industrial revolution had brought about a modern lifestyle, but the Chanel did not live in a modern city. When Gabrielle was twelve her mother died of tuberculosis and her father left the family. Because of this, Chanel and her two sisters went to an orphanage; her brothers went to a farm and became child laborers. the young Chanel spent six years in the orphanage of the Roman Catholic monastery of Aubazine, where she learned the trade of a seamstress. She was a fierce, pretty, and restless girl, and she knew that she was different from others.
When chanel was eighteen years old, she left the orphanage, and the ambitious young girl took off for the town of Moulins to become a cabaret singer. During this time, Chanel performed in clubs in Vichy and Moulins where she was called “Coco.” It was say that the name comes from one of the songs she used to sing. When Coco gave up singing, she got to like designing hats and lived on it.
In 1910 she became a licensed modiste (hat maker) and opened a boutique at 21 rue Cambon, Paris named Chanel Modes. Chanel’s modiste career bloomed once theatre actress Gabrielle Dorziat modelled her hats in the F Noziere’s play Bel Ami in 1912 (Subsequently, Dorizat modelled her hats again in Les Modes). In 1913 coco established a boutique in Deauville, where she introduced luxe casual clothes that were suitable for leisure and sport. Chanel launched her career as fashion designer when she opened her next boutique, Chanel-Biarritz.
Chanel was a woman of determination and ambition. She introduced simple, elegant, relaxed, and functional clothes that express the aspirations of women in the Twentieth Century. She borrowed ideas from men’s clothes and created clothes for modern women. In 1916, Chanel launched jersey suits. The suits fitted in people’s lifestyle, and it was not just a trendy fashion. Chanel said, "I make fashion women can live in, breath in, feel comfortable in and look younger in." The idea of her fashion was the antithesis of the concept of high fashion in the past. Her unique sense of fashion also guided her jewelry designs. She liked to mix imitation jewels with real jewels and often combined massive amounts with sportswear. Her famous perfume, Chanel No.5, was the first designer’s brand perfume.
Chanel was famous for popularizing practical clothes, including little black dress, pants for women and box-like collarless jackets with bias edging and brass buttons. Her first fabric included wool jersey, which was comfortable and easy fitting, but was not considered suitable for fashionable clothes. Classical Chanel accessories include multiple strands of pearls and gold chains, quilted handbags, sling-back pumps in ivory with black toes, quilted handbags with shoulder straps made of gold chain, and gardenias.
Chanel dated some of the most influential men of her time, but she never married. The reason may be was in her answer, when asked why she did not marry the Duke of Westminster: "There have been several Duchesses of Westminster. There is only one Chanel."
Chanel’s business was interrupted by World War I and again in 1939 at the beginning of World War II. She believed that it was not a time for fashion and closed all her shops. In 1945, she moved to Switzerland, eventually returning to Paris in 1954, the same year she returned to the fashion world. Her new collection did not have much success with the Parisians because of her relationship with the Nazis; however, it was much applauded by the British and Americans, who became her faithful customers.
In 1971 after Chanel dying in her Paris apartment, first her assistant designers, Gaston Berthelot and Ramon Esparza, and then her assistants Yvonne Dudel and Jean Cazaubon designed the couture (1975-83). Philippe Guibourge became the ready-to-wear designer. Karl Lagerfeld took over haute couture design in 1983 and ready-to-wear design in 1984. He rehashes her trademark styles annually in various fabrics.