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Gabrielle Coco Chanel

1883-1971

Born in Saumur, Southern France on


August 19, 1883
Childhood

The Chanel family did not have money

No one knew how to spell Chanel so the mayor


improvised and recorded it with an "s," making it Chasnel.

When Gabrielle was twelve, her mother died of


tuberculosis, and her father disappeared.

School vacations were spent with relatives . Female relatives taught Coco to sew
with more flourish than the nuns at the monastery were able to demonstrate.

When Coco turned eighteen, she left the orphanage


Career/Life Path

Gabrielle adopted the name Coco during a brief


stint as a singer in cafes and concert halls

While working at a tailoring shop she met and soon


began an affair with Etienne Balsan

Coco left Etienne and took over his apartment in Paris.

In 1908 she began selling hats from the basement shop in


Etiennes apartment.

She was forced to close her shop


Career/Life Path continued

In 1909 Chanel met up with an estranged and former best friend of Etienne
Balsan, Arthur "Boy" Capel.

1910 she opened second shop funded by boy Capel in Cambon, Paris

1913 she opened a clothing shop in Deauville , France funded by Capel

In 1916 Coco Chanel became the first designer to create loose womens
clothing using jersey

In 1919 Chanel relocated one of her shops to 31 rue Cambon in Paris.

Coco also lost her true love, Arthur Boy Capel in a tragic car accident
Career/ Life Path Continued

In 1922, she launched the fragrance Chanel No. 5

In 1925 Chanel launched her signature cardigan jacket

In 1926 she created the little black dress

In 1939 Chanel closed all her shops except the one on Rue Cambon No. 31

In 1954 she returned to the fashion world after spending 15 years in


Switzerland

In 1957 Chanel was presented with the Neiman-Marcus Award.


Death

Coco Chanel died of a heart attack in her private suite at the Hotel Ritz
Paris on 10 January 1971, at the age of 87. She was buried in
Lausanne, Switzerland and her tombstone is carved with lion heads
representing her birth sign, Leo.
Fashions that Chanel Introduced to the world
Black as a color and the Chanel lipstick red.
Trousers
Costume jewelry
Sailor tops
The elimination of the corset from women's fashion
The unisex style of dressing
Sunbathing
The use of knit jersey
The women's bathing suit
The bobbed hair style
The skirt suit (with a collarless, cardigan-like jacket and somewhat boxy suit
skirt with buttons.)
With the help of Ernest Beaux, a chemist, she combined over 128 scents to
design Chanel No. 5. Coco was the first to incorporate the use of floral
scents
The Roots of Chanel Business
Coco Chanel sought financial help from Pierre Wertheimer to market a fragrance she
had developed in 1921

Pierre Wertheimer funded the venture and retained a 70 percent ownership share in
the Perfume company. Coco Chanel only got a 10 percent cut.

Pierre Wertheimer wanted to protect his legal rights, but wished to avoid a court
battle, and so, in 1947, he settled the dispute with Coco Chanel, giving her $400,000
and agreeing to pay her a 2 percent royalty on all Chanel products.

At 70 years of age in 1954, Coco Chanel returned to Paris with the intent of restarting
her fashion studio. She went to Pierre Wertheimer for advice and money, and he
agreed to finance her plan in exchange for all rights to the Chanel name.

To this day Chanel has expanded its line to include women's fashions, jewelry and
accessories, handbags, leather goods, and other products. While its products are sold
through third parties, Chanel also operates its own network of more than 80 company-
owned retail stores worldwide. There are also more than 120 Chanel shop-in-shop
boutiques in leading department stores around the world.
"A girl should be two things: classy & fabulous."

"Success is often achieved by those who don't know that


failure is inevitable."