Coco Chanel – From troubled childhood to the fashion world


Gabrielle Chanel, known as the famous Coco Chanel, was one of the most revolutionary designers of the 1900s. The stylist goes from a troubled childhood to a life marked by revolution and irreverence in the fashion world.

She was born on August 19, 1833, in a hospice in Saumur, by Jeanne Devolle. Her childhood was marked by the death of her mother and the abandonment of her father, Albert Chanel, having been raised by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart in Aubazine. At the time of the stylist’s registration, as her mother was unable to attend and her father was traveling, her nickname was spelled incorrectly as “Chasnel” and was only resolved a few years later.

At the age of 18, Chanel decided to leave the Catholic boarding school where he was and went to live in a pension in Moulins. From here the stylist starts to invent enough stories about her life to hide her origins, even lying about the year she was born.

Chanel begins her adolescence by learning to sew together with her aunt, whom she has found at the boardinghouse. In 1903, they were both sent to Maison Grampayre, a sewing studio. Since they are already independent, they decide to leave the pension and rent a room on Pont Ginguet street, in Moulins.

In 1907, Chanel began to work simultaneously in a cafe as a singer. One of the songs she sang, called “Qui qu’a vu Coco?”, Gave rise to her famous nickname Coco.

Étienne Balsan, son of some textile entrepreneurs, went from his romantic partner to his financial partner after discovering his splendid talent. In 1914 he opened his first store. Throughout her various relationships, often forbidden, she met people of high class who also helped her along her journey.

Chanel started by opening her hat shop, then started producing sportswear and was revolutionary in the production of the first women’s pants. His clothes dictated fashion in the world and started to be used by Hollywood actresses.

It became a revolution in the fashion world, carrying out its feminist movement, transforming the typical use of dresses with corsets into a practical and cozy dress. After the “petit robe noir” in 1920, he launched his famous Chanel suit consisting of a raincoat, a tweed and a jersey.

The stylist also dedicated herself to the production of accessories, opening a jewelry workshop with the help of Count Etienne de Beaumont and Duke Fulco di Verdura, where she made luxurious creations to accompany her dresses.

In 1920, he also launched the perfume that became known worldwide and brought him part of his fame, Chanel Nº5. This name is due to the fact that it was the fifth fragrance to be presented to you and because it is your lucky number.

During the Second World War, Chanel closed her sewing house and only reopened in 1954. Due to her romance with a German, the French stopped going to her home, since the stylist decided to end the romance in favor of your career.

Coco Chanel died in 1971, due to a heart attack, in Paris. She was an independent woman, who never married or had children and saw her job as a priority. Also known as Mademoiselle, she was an enterprising, stormy and dynamic woman.

“Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury” – Coco Chanel

“Perfume is the invisible, unforgettable and definitive accessory of fashion … that announces your arrival and prolongs your departure.” – Coco Chanel

Written by Inês Bandeira

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