Today i am going to talk about one of the most influencial icons of all time. Coco Chanel is one the most powerful women in the world of fashion. Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel was born in 1883 in Saumur, Maine-et-Loire, France. Coco Chanel managed to create her own empire in a world ruled by men. She was their equal and sometimes she was even better than them. Here are 15 interesting facts about Coco Chanel!
1. She was a cabaret singer at first
The only money she earned from was singing at a café-concert were she managed to accumulate cash when the plate was passed among the audience in appreciation of her performance. Who knew right ?
2. Coco who?
Gabrielle Chanel acquired the name “Coco” during her singing years.When she became identified with two popular songs ” Ko Ko Ri Ko” and “Qui qu’a vu Coco”. Later, she told everyone that Coco is the nickname given to her by her father.
3. She introduced pants for women
Coco Chanel outraged the fashion world when she wore pants in Venice, to make travelling by gondola easier. Coco Chanel decided that there was no comfortable way to ride a horse while wearing a long skirt. She was always a risk taker which made her go places for sure!
4. She launched the first designer perfume
Coco Chanel gave us the most famous perfume, Chanel No 5. The perfume was launched in 1921 and had its place in history secured when Marilyn Monroe was asked what she wore to bed and she answered “Just a few drops of Chanel No 5″. It was called Chanel No 5 as it was the 5th scent from her samples. She was pretty simple with the names of her products.
5. She grew up at an orphanage
When Chanel was 12 her mother died of bronchitis. Her father sent her two brothers to work at a farm and he left the three sisters to the convent of Aubazine, which ran an orphanage. Her starting point was zero it is fantastic what she was able to do.
6. She stepped into the world of fashion by designing hats
Coco Chanel learned the art of sewing at the orphanage. She became a licensed milliner in 1910 and opened a boutique at 21 rue Cambon, Paris, named Chanel Modes. Her first clients were simple women but the important figures soon followed.
7. She lived in a hotel for more than 30 years
In her twilight years, Coco Chanel lived a solitary life, residing at the Hotel Ritz in Paris, where she passed away in 1971, at the age of 87. During the day she stayed at her apartment and spent the nights at the Ritz. Every day, after she left the hotel, the porter would call an employee who would spray the staircase before her arrival.
8. Coco Chanel invented the women’s suit
Chanel revolutionized women’s fashion when she freed them from the “dresses in which one can’t move”. The famous Chanel suit has a military-inspired jacket, pad pockets and buttons that look like jewelry.
9. She had a bitter personality
Coco Chanel never missed an opportunity to criticize her contemporaries: she accused Christian Dior of dressing women like armchairs and said that she admired Balenciaga’s designs but questioned his ability to cut. She even commeted on Paul Poiret’s designs that they were costumes rather than clothes people could actually wear.
10. The lion
Ever wondered why the lion is so present in Chanel’s jewelry? becuase her zodiac sign was Leo. All her life she kept a lion statue next to her cigarettes and scissors. Also, the lion can be seen engraved on the bottoms of her tweed suits.“I’m a Leo and like him I show my claws to protect myself “, she said “But believe me I suffer more by clawing than being clawed.”
11. Black was her favorite color
Although white, beige, gold and red are symbolic for Chanel, black was her favorite color. For Coco Chanel, black revealed a woman’s radiance and accentuated the essential. She believed that there is nothing more classy than a little black dress.
12. The Nazi collaboration
Declassified documents of the French Secret Services revealed that Coco Chanel was registered as a member of Abwher (an espionage German group). Coco Chanel spent most of the war staying at the Hotel Ritz in Paris, sharing close quarters with Nazi general officers, agents, and spies. She had to leave europe as a result of it.
13. Boy Capel
Boy Capel was an English polo player but he is best known as Gabrielle Chanel’s lover. The two met in 1909, while she was the mistress of his friend, Étienne Balsan. Capel introduced the young girl to literature and was the one who financed Coco Chanel’s first shops. His style was also an inspiration for Chanel that contributed to the creation of the Chanel Look. Boy Capel died in a car accident in 1919. This was the first and last time Coco Chanel was seen to cry. “Either I die as well or I finish what we started together”, she said. And she did not give up.
14. Fame in America
For her return, after the Second World War, Coco Chanel chose her lucky number. On the 5th of February 1954, Chanel watched her models on the runway. The French press ridiculed her designs and age. However, Coco Chanel was to find fame in America. Life, the most popular and read magazine in America wrote “At 71 years old, Gabrielle Chanel brings more than a style, a revolution!”
15. The funeral
At her funeral, the first seats were occupied by her models and her coffin was covered with white flowers (camellias, gardenias, orchids, azaleas and red roses). Coco Chanel is buried in Lausanne, Switzerland. Her headstone was designed by the designer herself and features the emblematic lion. “Without stone above me, I would like to leave if I had the wish to go to Heaven and dress the angels”, she said.