Monday, 27 July 2009

Coco Chanel

The film 'Coco Before Chanel', also known as 'Coco Avant Chanel' is due to be released on 31st July.
I've decided to write a post on the lady herself.

Coco Chanel was born Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel in 1883 in the small French city of Saumur, Maine-et-Loire.
She had two sisters and three brothers - her mother died of tuberculosis when she was twelve.
Her father left them and they then ended up in an orphanage.
At the age of eighteen Coco left the orphanage and began working in a tailor shop.

She met French playboy millionaire Etienne Balsan, whilst living with him Coco began designing hats which she became very interested in.

Coco left Etienne and opened her first shop in 1913 which sold raincoats and jackets.
The shop closed, she then opened a shop in Brittany. French actresses wore her hats which helped build her reputation.
Her third shop was opened in Deuville where there was also a range of woman's sportswear sold.
It was during world was 1 and women decided they should dress for themselves and not for their men.

Coco produced her first signature scent, Chanel No.5 in 1921. It is now the best selling fragrance in the world.
Chanel No.5 was the first fragrance to have a designer's name attached.

When world war 2 began Coco shut all her shops as she decided it was the wrong time for fashion.
She lived in the Hotel Ritz Paris and made this her home for thirty years.
In 1954 she got involved with fashion again.
Coco wasn't popular with Parisians because of her relationship with a Nazi spy, however Americans loved it.

Coco Chanel died of a heart attack on 10th January 1971 aged 87 at the Hotel Ritz.


The building where her apartment was in Paris was bought by Coco.
It still houses the ground-floor store, the haute couture workrooms in the attic and Karl Lagerfeld also has a study there.

Coco Before Chanel is in cinemas 31st July 2009.

1 comment:

  1. I saw a made-for-television film on her life and it's extraordinary. Her love affairs were epic and although she's not known for a sweet bedside manner, it's easy to understand her tough demeanor.
    What amazing contributions she's made to haute couture!

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