Coco Chanel

By: Samantha Flerlage

Why Coco Chanel is famous

Coco Chanel is famous for her arrogant designs that changed fashion history for women. People were shocked, considering her backstory, of how much she accomplished in her life. Her designs were known around the world, and were very well respected. She was a women who came out to the world with big ideas, and made them happen.

Different Like Coco

On August 19, 1883 Gabrielle Chanel was born poor and skinny. Even though Gabrielle had 5 other siblings, she preferred to be alone. When she was growing up, her mother died of failing health, and Gabrielle and her 2 sisters were sent to an orphanage. At the orphanage, Gabrielle learned how to sew and made rag dolls and ribbons for her hair out of scraps of fabric. Her famous imagination brought the rag dolls to life. At age 18, Gabrielle was sent to Notre Dame, a finishing school for young ladies. After finishing school, Gabrielle got a job as a tailor to pursue her love for sewing. Gabrielle began singing at night clubs, and earned the nickname Coco. Coco could not afford clothes like everyone else, so she made her own that shocked everyone and were the talk of France. At age 21, Coco snuck into her first polo match and met a man that bought her a little shop in Paris. Though they were in love, they two never married. Coco began to design practical, long, and slender clothes for her shop. People loved her designs. Coco began to open more shops and by 1916 she had a staff of over 300. Coco designed famous modern wear from sports wear to theater wear. Women no longer wanted to dress like Coco, they wanted to be like Coco. These designs made Coco famous throughout the world.Coco Chanel died in 1981, but her and her designs still live on.

One of Coco Chanel's shops


Born poor and skinny on August 19th 1883, came Gabrielle Chanel. Gabrielle was born in Saumur, France. Gabrielle was born to Albert Chanel and Jeanne Devolle. She was the youngest of 6. She had 2 older sisters, Antoinette and Julia. She also had 3 older brothers Augustin, Lucien, and Alphonse. On her birth certificate, there was a mistake. Instead of saying Gabrielle Chanel, it said Gabrielle Chasnel. Gabrielle's father was a traveling salesman. Gabrielle's mother had failing health, and died when Gabrielle was 6 years old.After Gabrielle's mother died,her father was left with 5 children which he soon sent away to various places. The boys were sent to a neighboring farm to work, and Gabrielle and her sisters were sent to an orphanage. Gabrielle and her sisters were sent to the orphanage of Catholic monastery of Aubazine. There, Gabrielle and her sisters learned the trade of a seamstress. Gabrielle spent all of her free time sewing rag dolls and ribbons for her hair. Gabrielle dreamed and fantasized of romance and true love. During confession Gabrielle would tell lies to keep her fantasy a secret. When Gabrielle turn 18, she left the orphanage to go to a finishing school, called Notre Dame. She would not earn the nickname Coco, until she turn 21.

Gabrielle Chanel was born in Samuer France, Europe

A booklet of Coco Chanel's dress sketches is an important primary source. These were found in the House of Chanel in between the 1950's and the 1960's. These 8 sketches were never really materialized, they were only sketches. Every sketch was of a suit, the most popular Chanel design. All of the sketches were hand drawn by Coco. All of the sketches have similarities in the way they were drawn. Every sketch had pointed toe shoes, and all the women in the drawings had skirts on. All of these sketches were drawn in color, and the were all signed with CHANEL in the top right corner. All of the dresses had a number after CHANEL, and some even had the letter B. Some women that she drew wore hats, and others did not. This is important primary source, because dresses and dress designs are one of the things that Coco Chanel was known for.

Link to Coco Chanel life video clips

Challenges, Success, Careers, and Obstacles

Gabrielle Chanel never had it easy in life. Gabrielle had always been poor. Her mother died when Gabrielle was only a child, and then her father left them. Gabrielle and her sisters were sent to an orphanage. After leaving the orphanage, Gabrielle
became a singer at night clubs for two years. This is where she earned her nickname Coco. Then, Gabrielle became a tailor for a small period of time to persuade her love of sewing. As Gabrielle turned 21, she snuck into a polo match and met a rich man. This man bought her a little shop in Paris. Gabrielle began to sew things out of curtains for herself. To the people of this time, her designs were not appropriate for a women to wear. Soon Gabrielle put these clothes in her shop, which she named Chanel. Chanel began one of the most popular clothing brands around. Coco had her clothes worn by famous athletes, and had her clothes worn by movie stars in movies. Coco's name and success boomed, and soon everyone knew who she was. Coco held fashion shows to show off her clothes. By 1916 Coco Chanel had many shops and a staff of over 300. When World War 2 struck, Coco shut down all of her shops and moved to Switzerland for 15 years. After the War was over she redeemed herself by introducing a new line of Chanel clothing. Coco became even more famous than before the war and her popularity continued to grow. Even though she died, her importance in women fashion history still lives on.

Additional interesting facts:
- Gabrielle earned her nickname when she was a singer in the Moulins.- Coco shut down her company for 15 years during World War 2 and moved to Switzerland.- Coco died in her apartment at Hotel Ritz.- Gabrielle's middle name was Bonheur, and that means happiness in french.- Her favorite number was 5.- She loved pockets.- She lived in a hotel for over 30 years.

"Keep your heels, head, and standerds high."-Gabrielle Chanel

The End

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