she was the woman who created modern fashion. a spectacular designer, a brilliant artist, and an intelligent businesswoman, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel was born in france in 1883, and opened her first shop in paris in 1910, where the fashion elite flocked for her gorgeous hats. but the real draw was Coco’s personal style; in a time where flamboyant women’s dress of the 19th century began making room for a more chic, simpler fashion that was much less fussy and much more fresh and modern. Coco’s simple, neutral, and chic wardrobe fit the bill perfectly, and before long her customers demanded clothing that mirrored hers. by 1913 she opened her second shop, where she introduced her sportswear collection, and from there, her business took off.
1921 saw the creation of her iconic No 5 fragrance, and in 1924 she launched her cosmetics line. by 1931 her popularity spread to the states, where she was invited by MGM to create costumes for some of their biggest stars.
by 1954, when a new wave of fashion silhouettes had taken over, Coco revitalized her brand, while remaining true to her classic shapes and styles, and the next generation became inspired once again by her elegant, classic, yet refreshing designs. she created fashion breakthroughs, from her leather purses with chain detailing, two tone shoes, and her classic black and white ensembles, including the little black dress.
in 1971 the fashion icon died, but her business continued to thrive. from the launch of the brand’s ready to wear collection in 1978 to the appointing of Karl Lagerfeld in 1983 as creative director of all Chanel fashion lines, the brand continued to make fashion headlines throughout the 20th century.
tomorrow we will visit the Chanel brand today, and their amazing fashions that continue to inspire and awe.