The Original Fashionista

By: Kelsey Walker

In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.
                                        -Coco Chanel

Coco (Gabrielle) Chanel was an individual who was not afraid to show it. She ruled Parisian haute couture for over six decades in the 20th century. She created the "poor girl" look which interested many wealthy and influential women who wanted a different style. ("Gabrielle Coco Chanel.") It was her non-traditional, non-conformist and groundbreaking designs that shaped the fashion industry for the next thirty years. Coco was a pioneer of modern designs. She created trademarks such as "the little black dress", bell bottoms, and the Chanel suit. ("Coco Chanel | HamptonRoads.com | PilotOnline.com.") Chanel started out her empire with very a very daring step in society at that time with simple hats for women. Chanel's designs were elegant and classy but at the same time stressed simplicity and comfort, which actually was nonconformity during this time. Not only did Chanel design apparel and hats but she also had a handbag line a jewelry line.("Fashion Designer Coco Chanel.")

Gentleness doesn't get work done unless you happen to be a hen laying eggs.
          -Coco Chanel

Chanel was orphaned at the age of six and raised by nuns. At the monastery she was taught to sew, which turned out to be a very helpful tool for her in her upcoming life. She served an apprenticeship in a tailor shop and later opened a shop making hats. The Chanel empire soon began afterwards. ("North / South: {Coco Chanel on Life}.") Even though it was a male-dominated society, Coco Chanel stood on her own two feet. She had no help with building her empire. She never got married and was an all around independent woman. Coco believed that it was not by chance she was alone. She thought it wouldn't of only been hard for a man to live with her but also for her to live with a man. Coco Chanel quickly learned of the high class etiquette. (Cococ Chanel: The First Woman Designer In The World of Fashion.") She not only had a couple world class boutiques but various ones. Coco Chanel is the most self reliant woman in history in my opinion.

The most courageous act is to still think for yourself. Aloud.
                                -Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel was confident because she made it on her own, someone who stands up for what they believe in, and someone who made a change when one was needed. Chanel turned her dreams into a reality and changed others by giving them the boost they needed to turn away from their common, stereotypical uniforms.("The My Hero Project - Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel.") She turned ordinary pieces of clothing or jewelry and made them into art. She had the guts to do what nobody else did at the time. She turned men's clothing into unisex clothing. She didn't care if her designs would be accepted and it sure showed. Coco created designs her whole life up until the day she was laid to rest which was at the age of 87. Coco was not afraid to fail and I think that is what took her to the top. She showed women they had freedom and didn't need to be limited.

When I give, I give myself
                     -Walt Whitman

This quote by Walt Whitman means that if someone does something, no matter what it may be, they have to give it their all. When Coco Chanel made a design or opened a business she put her heart and soul into it. In this way she was self-reliant.She didn't know if she would be accepted into society, especially by using her own taste in stuff.

Coco Chanel has had a big effect on today's society. She had influenced the fashion world the most though. Coco is remembered because of her immense creativity as a designer and remarkable expertise in business. (“Coco Chanel - Most Influential Fashion & Style Icon of the 20th Century.") Even today's most famous current designers such as Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss, Vera Wang, Michael Kors, Donna Karan, Diane von Furstenburg, and Valentino use her as an example to design. They use her as a role model. "The Little Black Dress" is still is such an iconic design even today. According to Oprah Winfrey even if a women doesn't own any Chanel, chances are she still has clothing that was influenced by Coco Chanel. I think we can all agree Coco Chanel was a remarkable designer and is her expressions are still around even if they are not noticed everyday. ("5 Ways Coco Chanel Has Inspired Fashion Today.")

Works Cited

  •   "Gabrielle Coco Chanel." BeyondJane RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2012.
  •   "Fashion Designer Coco Chanel." Fashion Designer Coco Chanel. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2012.
  • "Coco Chanel | HamptonRoads.com | PilotOnline.com." Coco Chanel | HamptonRoads.com | PilotOnline.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2012.
  • BrainyQuote. Xplore, n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2012.
  • "North / South: {Coco Chanel on Life}." North / South: {Coco Chanel on Life}. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2012.
  • "Coco Chanel: The First Woman Designer In The World of Fashion." HubPages. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2012.
  • "The My Hero Project - Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel." Myhero.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2012.
  • “Coco Chanel - Most Influential Fashion & Style Icon of the 20th Century." Yahoo! Contributor Network. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2012.
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