Coco Chanel : Rags to Riches Tale

We all know her as Coco Chanel, but this wasn’t her original name. She was Gabrielle Chanel. She only  became “Coco” after being given the nickname by soldiers in the audience while singing on stage.

Coco Chanel wearing one of her designs: a three-quarter coat with cinched waist and astrakhan lapels and cuffs, and matching astrakhan hat with large brooch on front.

Coco Chanel became very rich and famous during her life, however her childhood was a humble one. She was the daughter of a peasant street vendor and was born poor. After her mother died, she was sent to an orphanage in a convent, where she stayed until the age of 18. It was here that Gabrielle learnt to embroider, iron and sew.


Coco Chanel started her fashion career by designing hats and opened her first shop in Paris in 1913. In the 1920’s, she introduced the famous, Little Black Dress. She wanted to make available affordable and easy-to-wear apparel. Her designs, so elegant yet so comfortable and practical,  freed women from wearing corsets. In addition, she dared to shorten skirts so that the ankles could be seen!

coco parfum

In 1921, she created her first perfume, Chanel No 5. It was the first fragrance to bear the name of a designer, and was accompanied by the number five because Chanel had been told by a fortune teller that this was her lucky number.

chanel first store

In 1954, aged 71, Chanel reopened her fashion house after it had been closed for 15 years during the war. She told the actress Marlene Dietrich it was because she was “dying of boredom”.

ritz carlton hotel

On 10 January 1971, after returning from a walk with her friend Claude Baillen, Coco Chanel died on her bed in the Hotel Ritz. Her last words to her maid Celine were, “You see, this is how you die.”

Stay tuned for more on Women’s Luxury Fashion in the International & Indian scenario…

Source : thegaurdian


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