Gabrielle Chanel was born in 1883 in a poor family, where her mother was constantly sick, and her father often allowed himself to “walk”. When the mother died, none of the relatives, even the father, wanted to educate Gabrielle and her two sisters, so the girls were sent to a shelter at the monastery. At the age of 18, Gabriel had a choice: to remain in the monastery, or, having left it, to continue his education in some other institution. She left the monastery to study in a boarding house in the town of Moulins. Chanel firmly decided not to return to the miserable past, so she struggled with a different, luxurious life. Marriage of convenience was not for her, because the girl tried hard to earn money with her labor, which meant independence and freedom for her. During the day, Gabrielle worked with a needle in her hands, and in the evening she sang on the cafe-chanting stage. She received the nickname “Coco” thanks to one of the songs of her repertoire.
Chanel began to look after the heir to the dynasty of textile industrialists. She was struck by the luxury of lifestyle in higher circles. However, the outfits of the ladies seemed to Gabrielle too sophisticated and complex (they were dresses with corsets, draped with fabric meters). Then Coco Chanel began to create its own fashion trend, drawing on the clothing style of its male friends. She used absolutely everything: shirts, cardigans, breeches for riding, ties, shawls. And Coco converted all these elements of men’s clothing into a comfortable women’s one. She also modeled hats, which enjoyed tremendous success with famous actresses. It was then that Chanel drew attention and became seriously interested in her design ideas.
Having met in 1912 with the heir to the dynasty of English coal producers, Arthur Capel, Coco was able to move from the town of Balsan to Paris, where she opened her own store. And very soon, Rue Cambon Street, where the boutique was located, became associated in wide circles with the name Chanel. Gabrielle was now a business woman.
Soon two more boutiques opened, where models such as flannel jackets, knitted tunics, straight skirts were sold. Then dresses began to appear in stores, elegant beige ensembles of dresses and coats, evening dresses from black tulle decorated with black amber – in short, a complete wardrobe for urban fashionistas. Coco carefully made sure that every detail of her models looked perfect. Chanel has always adhered to one main line. She firmly believed that the clothes were created, first of all, in order to be comfortable for those who wear it, and not to look defiantly exciting.
Coco Chanel launched her first Chanel No. 5 perfume bottle when she was forty years old. And even here, when choosing the design of the bottle, she did not change her style, picking up an elegant modest form.
Chanel achieved what she dreamed of in her youth – she bathed in luxury. I met with artists and aristocrats, went fishing with the Duke of Westminster, played cards with Winston Churchill. Her apartment, located above the brand boutique at Rue Cambon, was the standard of grace and perfect taste.
But in difficult times, in 1929 – 1933, things went wrong for Coco. Complicated the situation and the impending second world war. Chanel’s offer to Hollywood producer S. Goldwin to “dress” the stars of his studio for a million a year was rejected, and sales of Chanel No. 5 were steadily declining. And then Chanel decided to close her business, dismissing all the workers. Meanwhile, men began to dictate fashion again, and those images in women’s clothing that Coco tried so hard to expel from the catwalk in the 1920s were returning again.
At the age of 70, Gabriel decides to return to the world of fashion. She reopens her boutique at Rue Cambon, and soon the first collection in 15 years will be released. In the fashion trends of the 60s, the ideas of the distant 20s were repeated, but no one could see them apart from Chanel. Soon, she completely regained her rights in the fashion industry. Shoes with a closed toe and an open heel, handbags on a chain and jewelry made of artificial stones diverged around the world. Each fashionista wanted to be dressed “from Chanel.”
In 1971, Coco Chanel died in her suite at a Paris hotel. She was 87 years old. The income of Chanel House was $ 160 million per year. Her work was continued by Karl Lagerfeld, but the Chanel collections of the late 90s looked as if they had returned to their origins – to light fabric and elegant simple cut.